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 countries. 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 http://www.abbott.com .