|NEWS||Improving and Protecting the Health, Well-Being
and Self-Reliance of All Montanans.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 30, 2011
Montanans selected for HIV/AIDS recognition awards
Five individuals have been selected to receive the Governors Recognition Awards in conjunction with World AIDS Day, commemorated globally on December 1. The theme for the 2011 World AIDS Day celebration is “Getting to Zero. Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS-Related Deaths.”
Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger and DPHHS Director Anna Whiting Sorrell will present awards to the recipients at a recognition ceremony on Thursday, December 1 at 1 p.m. in the Capitol Rotunda in Helena.
Selected for the World AIDS Day Recognition Awards are the following:
Christa Weathers, Missoula; Jon Freeland, Missoula; Steven Barrios, Browning; Debbie Brown, Billings; and Trisha Gardner, Great Falls.
The individuals were nominated by community members on the basis of outstanding efforts in helping their communities respond to HIV/AIDS in Montana. “These nominees are indicative of the dedicated, hard-working, compassionate Montanans tirelessly striving to make changes in the lives of those who live with the effects of HIV every day,” DPHHS Director Anna Whiting Sorrell said. “They are key players in the fight to prevent HIV, and to remove the stigma and discrimination that keeps individuals from getting tested for HIV and determining their status. We honor their efforts, and are grateful for the energy and time they expend in service to others.”
The award recipients were chosen based on the following criteria:
- Make outstanding contributions in HIV/AIDS prevention through education, outreach, intervention and testing.
- Promote support, treatment and care for persons living with HIV/AIDS.
- Display personal courage and vision in expanding awareness, sensitivity and response to HIV/AIDS.
- Combat the discrimination, stigma, and isolation associated with HIV infection and AIDS.
According to DPHHS statistical information, 500 Montanans are currently living with HIV or AIDS and the state receives approximately 15 to 30 new reports each year. About 1.2 million Americans are currently living with HIV or AIDS and approximately 50,000 Americans are infected with HIV each year.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the cause of AIDS. HIV is transmitted through unprotected sexual activity with an infected person, or by sharing hypodermic needles with someone who is infected. There is still no cure, but breakthrough antiretroviral medicines have greatly increased the life expectancy of people living with HIV and AIDS.
The public is welcome and encouraged to attend the awards ceremony.