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Alabama joins effort to raise AIDS awareness

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Hundreds of people gathered throughout the state Wednesday in observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which was marked with seminars and other events.

Randy Jones with the state health department's disease prevention division said educational events at campuses and health departments in Auburn, Selma, Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile were organized in observance of the day.

Members of the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus also participated by joining with other legislative black caucuses around the nation for the seventh annual observance.

Caucus members will wear T-shirts that ask the question, "Got AIDS? How do you know?" to encourage members of the U.S. black community to get screened for HIV.

"The sad and frightening statistic is that each year more than half of all people living with HIV/AIDS and those who have been recently infected with HIV are African Americans," Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, said in a statement Wednesday. "Two-thirds of the women infected with HIV each year are African American."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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