Since its 2006 launch, the "I Stand With Magic" program, a part of the "Campaign to End Black AIDS," has provided free HIV/AIDS testing to more than 21,000 Americans in 16 major cities with large African-American populations as part of the "I Stand With Magic" tour. Additionally, the program has educated nearly 200,000 people about HIV, risk factors associated with the disease, the importance of HIV testing and how to care for yourself or someone you know living with the disease. More than 70,000 individuals have enrolled in the program in order to receive regular newsletters and communication from Magic Johnson about how to stay informed about the disease. Anyone who is personally impacted by HIV, is a caretaker of someone who is HIV positive or just wants to support the cause can enroll on the program's Web site, http://www.istandwithmagic.com.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2005, approximately half of the nearly 40,000 new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in the United States occurred among African Americans, who represented just 13 percent of the general population. The impact of HIV/AIDS on African-American women has been particularly concerning. HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for African-American women 25-34 years old. In 2005, the AIDS diagnosis rate for African-American women was approximately 23 times the rate for Caucasian women. Further, this minority population accounts for 66 percent of new HIV/AIDS cases among all women.
Cookie Johnson, the wife of Earvin "Magic" Johnson, is now touring the country with the "I Stand With Magic" program to educate minority women about HIV/AIDS and provide tools for prevention and testing. Cookie prides herself on being the first to "stand" with Magic. In addition to Cookie, the program is extending an invitation to other prominent African-American leaders to join the campaign.
"When we first learned about Earvin's diagnosis we bonded together as a family to arm ourselves with education on HIV/AIDS," said Cookie. "I was determined that we would fight this disease together as a family. As the newest 'I Stand With Magic' program ambassador, I will encourage women in minority communities in America to get educated, tested and treated for HIV/AIDS throughout the next year. Today, I want to share what we learned about HIV/AIDS with others, especially women who might be going through a similar situation as my own."
In celebration of World AIDS Day, Abbott and the Magic Johnson Foundation are also hosting concerts with musicians including Angie Stone, Erykah Badu, Mary Mary and the Soul Seekers, who will perform and encourage people to get informed, get tested and seek treatment if necessary.
"Educating minority communities about HIV/AIDS and encouraging them to get tested and seek treatment is crucial to helping prevent HIV in the African-American community," said Earvin "Magic" Johnson. "I am thrilled that many prominent leaders in the African-American community are standing with me to help in this effort, and I hope together we can access all of our networks and call on our friends to lower the number of new infections caused by this devastating epidemic."
"At Abbott, we are proud of our partnership with the Magic Johnson Foundation and our accomplishments in addressing this public health crisis, but we recognize that significant work remains," said Mary Szela, senior vice president, Pharmaceutical Operations, Abbott. "We have set our sights on reaching even more people in 2008 and will continue to help combat this epidemic in minority populations."
To learn more about the "I Stand with Magic Program and Campaign to End Black AIDS" or to join the program, visit http://www.istandwithmagic.com.
About "I Stand with Magic"
Through the "I Stand with Magic" program, Abbott and the Magic Johnson Foundation are joining forces to address the alarming rate of HIV/AIDS in the African-American community by aiming to reduce the new HIV infection rate in half over five years. Through this partnership, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Abbott hold educational activities and testing events in cities with high HIV infection rates. In 2006, the initiative embarked on a 10-city tour of high schools and counseling centers across the nation to provide HIV testing, education and additional resources for HIV-positive individuals. In 2007, the campaign has visited almost 200 churches, high schools and colleges. For more information and to "stand with Magic" in the fight against HIV/AIDS, visit http://www.istandwithmagic.com.
About the Magic Johnson Foundation
The Magic Johnson Foundation was established in 1991 as a single-disease organization that works to raise funds for community-based organizations dealing with HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs. The Foundation has since responded to the growing need to address all aspects of our youth's lives by expanding its mission. This expanded mission emphasizes the Foundation's focus on supporting community-based organizations and development programs that serve the health, educational and social needs of those residing in minority communities.
Abbott has been a leader in HIV/AIDS research since the early years of the epidemic. In 1985, the company developed the first licensed test to detect HIV antibodies in the blood and remains a leader in HIV diagnostics. Abbott retroviral and hepatitis tests are used to screen more than half of the world's donated blood supply. Abbott has developed two protease inhibitors for the treatment of HIV.
Expanding on its scientific contributions, Abbott and Abbott Fund have invested more than $100 million in developing countries to improve the lives of people affected by HIV/AIDS through programs targeting critical areas of need, including strengthening health care systems, supporting children affected by HIV/AIDS, and advancing HIV testing and treatment. For more information on Abbott's HIV/AIDS programs, please visit http://www.abbott.com/HIVAIDS and http://www.abbottglobalcare.org.
Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs 65,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.
Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's Web site at http://www.abbott.com.