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Ron Harris
Director of Communications

Howard University College of Medicine Has HIV Testing Legislation Moving Through House

WASHINGTON -- Howard University College of Medicine’s National Minority AIDS Education and Training Center, with the help of Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Donna Christensen, has introduced legislation in the House of Representatives recognizing the establishment of National Clinicians HIV Testing Day.

NMAETC established the day to heighten attention within the medical community regarding HIV testing as part of its anti-AIDS effort.

The resolution was introduced Waters, D-Calif., in July with 26 co-sponsors. The day is to remind physicians, physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and other medical professionals to promote early testing for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, so that people can be spared the deadly disease.

“I am proud to introduce this resolution in honor of the first annual National Clinicians HIV/AIDS Testing and Awareness Day,” Waters said. “Doctors, nurses, and other clinicians play a critical role in encouraging patients to get tested for HIV. I urge all clinicians to become actively involved in HIV/AIDS awareness, testing, treatment, and referral services in their communities, and I urge all clinicians to take an HIV test today and set a good example for their patients to follow.”

“This is wonderful,” said Goulda Downer, Ph.D., principal investigator for NMAETC, which gave birth to the idea. “It means that more clinicians will get involved in HIV testing. Right now, not enough of us are involved. We test daily for many diseases, but we don’t normally test for HIV.
“Clinicians nationwide can now understand the leadership role we play in addressing this disease in communities of color and help reduce HIV/AIDS disparities.”

Downer explained that with early diagnosis and linkage to care, many Americans are leading full, active lives with HIV, instead of being weakened by the advanced stages of AIDS.

“In Washington, more than 60 percent of patients who test positive for HIV converted to full-blown AIDS after a year. That means they’re being diagnosed too late. If we could have diagnosed them earlier, we may have been able to save their lives through early treatment.”

Waters, the leading HIV/AIDS activist in the House, drafted the legislation following a request from Christensen, D-V.I., a medical doctor who did her residence at Howard University Hospital. Downer had consulted with Christiansen about the need for such a resolution.

About Howard University College of Medicine
Since its founding in 1868, the Howard University College of Medicine has been at the forefront of medical education and has graduated more African-American physicians than any other medical school in the United States. Throughout its existence, it has remained true to its missions of training highly competent and compassionate health care professionals, creating new knowledge through vigorous research and addressing health disparities impacting people of color in the U.S. and abroad. For more
information about the College of Medicine, visit

About Howard University
Howard University is a private, comprehensive research university that is comprised of 12 schools and colleges. Founded in 1867, students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, a Truman Scholar, a Marshall Scholar, 19 Fulbright Scholars and 10 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United
States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University’s Web


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