MIAMI, March 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tomorrow at American Airlines Arena, the Miami Heat join the Miami-Dade County Health Department and Test Miami to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and reduce stigma surrounding the disease. The special MIAMI>AIDS game night is organized as part of a national partnership between NBA Cares and Greater Than AIDS, a national movement to respond to AIDS in America.
"We're happy to help Greater Than AIDS reignite the discussion about the disease," said Eric Woolworth, President of The Heat Group's Business Operations. "Although we've made great strides in terms of prevention and treatment, much work remains to be done."
As part of a focused partnership with funding and support from the Miami Foundation, Greater Than AIDS has teamed up with the Miami Heat to mobilize NBA fans and Miami communities in response to AIDS in the United States and reduce the stigma associated with the disease. In addition to in-arena messaging throughout the March 25th Heat game against the Philadelphia 76ers, an NBA/Greater Than AIDS public service message will be presented during halftime, featuring NBA All Stars Pau Gasol, Al Horford and Russell Westbrook and WNBA player Candice Wiggins, whose father died of AIDS.
"Working in partnership with Greater Than AIDS, Miami-Dade County, Miami-Dade Health Department and our Miami Heat to build a greater Miami and bring the community together around HIV/AIDS is a no-brainer," says Betty Alonso, Director of Programs, The Miami Foundation. "By working together we have harnessed the energy of key community leaders and combined our resources and expertise to claim that Miami is Greater Than AIDS."
Staff and volunteers from leading Miami organizations -- the Miami-Dade County Health Department, RCP Movement, CECOSIDA, and Empower U -- will also be on-hand at American Airlines Arena to distribute custom informational materials that connect fans with local services. All materials distributed to fans at the game feature these local resources.
"We are honored to join the Miami Heat and our local partners in raising awareness of HIV/AIDS and the importance that testing and prevention play in stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS in our community," said Lillian Rivera, RN, MSN, PhD, Administrator of the Miami-Dade County Health Department. "The HIV/AIDS rate in Miami-Dade County has, unfortunately, always ranked among the top cities in the United States -- we encourage you to know your status and to seek treatment if needed."
"Empower U is thrilled to join the Miami Heat and Greater than AIDS in raising awareness about the importance of HIV testing and prevention to stem the spread of HIV in Miami," said Executive Director Vanessa Mills. "Far too many individuals continue to be infected as well as die needlessly from HIV/AIDS. It is important that people know their HIV status, reduce their risk for HIV transmission, and seek treatment if they are infected. Together we can win the game against HIV/AIDS."
"RCP Movement is excited and honored to be partnering with Greater Than AIDS and the Miami Heat. Efforts in community mobilization are needed on all levels from all sectors, and this collaborative is a major step in the right direction. This endeavor will greatly benefit the communities of South Florida and set precedence for future efforts," said Founder and Executive Director Donovan A. Thomas.
More than 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV/AIDS today -- more than at any time in the 30-year history of the epidemic. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five of those who are positive does not know it. Early diagnosis and treatment are known to improve the lives of those living with the disease. Stigma also remains a major barrier to stemming the spread of HIV. The Miami area remains disproportionately impacted, with higher than national prevalence rates in Miami.
For more information about the Greater Than AIDS/NBA partnership, go to: http://www.greaterthan.org/nba.
About Greater Than AIDS
Greater Than AIDS is an unprecedented collaboration among a broad coalition of public and private sector partners united in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States, in particular among Black Americans and other disproportionately affected groups. Through a national media campaign and targeted community outreach, Greater Than AIDS aims to increase knowledge and understanding about HIV/AIDS and confront the stigma surrounding the disease. http://www.greaterthan.org
The Kaiser Family Foundation -- a leader in health policy and communications -- provides strategic direction and day-to-day management, as well as oversees the production of the media campaign. The Kaiser Family Foundation is not associated with Kaiser Permanente or Kaiser Industries. The Black AIDS Institute -- a think tank exclusively focused on AIDS in Black America -- provides leadership and expert guidance and directs community engagement. Greater Than AIDS is developed in support of Act Against AIDS, an effort by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to refocus attention on the domestic epidemic. Additional, financial and substantive support is provided by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Ford Foundation and MAC AIDS Fund, among others.
About Greater Than AIDS / NBA Cares Partnership
Greater Than AIDS and the National Basketball Association have teamed up to mobilize NBA fans and local communities in response to AIDS in the United States and reduce the stigma associated with the disease. The partnership includes television and radio public service ads (PSAs) featuring NBA/WNBA players, including Pau Gasol (Los Angeles Lakers), Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Candice Wiggins (Minnesota Lynx), whose father, former professional baseball player Alan Wiggins, died of AIDS in 1991. The partnership also includes targeted activations, community events, and special "Greater Than AIDS" in-arena nights to bring attention to HIV/AIDS in priority markets. Learn more: http://www.greaterthan.org/nba
SOURCE Kaiser Family Foundation