Abbott and Earvin 'Magic' Johnson Announce Partnership

Health Disparities Among Minority Communities Continue to Rise

New Partnership Offers Opportunity to Educate Audiences About Risk

Apr 07, 2006, 01:00 ET from Abbott

    ABBOTT PARK, Ill., April 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Abbott (NYSE:   ABT)
 announced today it has entered into a partnership with Earvin "Magic"
 Johnson to address health disparities in minority communities through a
 multi-year, nationwide education effort. The partnership will create an
 opportunity to have meaningful dialogue to address health disparities among
 minorities, with a special emphasis on HIV prevention, testing, awareness
 and disease management.
     Minority communities are currently disproportionately affected by
 certain disease states including: HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease,
 diabetes, and hypertension. By 2010, one of every three people in the
 United States will identify themselves as a racial/ethnic minority.
     "Minority communities are faced with challenging health obstacles as a
 result of social and cultural factors -- but we can change that," said
 Johnson. "I am thrilled to be teaming up with Abbott to make a difference
 and build awareness among vulnerable populations about health risks to
 which they may be socially disadvantaged, to share my personal story, and
 to have an open dialogue about important health facts that must not be
 overlooked. Above all though, I hope those at risk take advantage of
 community resources to help keep them and their loved ones healthy."
     Positive Intervention Begins with Education
     From the beginning of the epidemic, almost one million people have been
 diagnosed with HIV in the United States, and 40 percent of them are
 African-American. The rate of HIV diagnoses in African-American males is
 approximately 10 times the rate of Caucasians and almost three times the
 rate of Hispanics. Additionally, HIV disproportionately affects
 African-American women, with a diagnoses rate 23 times that of Caucasian
 women and is the number one cause of death among African-American women
 between the ages of 25 and 34.
     Education and empowerment are two crucial factors to address health
 disparities in minority communities. Through this partnership, Johnson,
 along with the Magic Johnson Foundation, will join Abbott to create
 educational platforms in cities with a high prevalence of HIV infection.
 Johnson will share his inspirational story of living with HIV, and
 communities will have the opportunity to seek free, confidential HIV
 testing and counseling through testing events. Attendees also will have the
 opportunity to have their blood pressure, peak flow levels, and glucose
 levels checked -- these tests are often indicators of the onset and
 activity of hypertension, asthma, and diabetes. The 10-city tour kicks off
 April 10, in Chicago.
     "Abbott is proud to initiate a long-term partnership with Mr. Johnson
 and the Magic Johnson Foundation. As a leader in the African-American
 community, he has made a positive impact on the health care and social
 issues affecting minority communities," said Jodi Devlin, vice president of
 marketing and sales, Specialty Pharmaceuticals, at Abbott. "Abbott is
 committed to providing solutions to today's pressing health care issues,
 and working together with the Magic Johnson Foundation was a natural fit.
 We look forward to partnering with Mr. Johnson to make a real difference in
 peoples' lives."
     About the Magic Johnson Foundation
     The Magic Johnson Foundation was established in 1991 as a
 single-disease organization that worked 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.
     About Abbott
     Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the
 discovery, development, manufacture, and marketing of pharmaceuticals and
 medical products, including devices and diagnostics. The company employs
 more than 60,000 people and markets its products in more than 130
     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's news releases and other information are available on the
 company's Web site at .