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CALLS INCREASE FOUR-FOLD TO STATE HEALTH AGENCY'S AIDS HOTLINE

    CALLS INCREASE FOUR-FOLD TO STATE HEALTH AGENCY'S AIDS HOTLINE
    OLYMPIA, Wash., Nov. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The number of calls to the state health department's AIDS hotline increased nearly four-fold following the announcement last week that basketball superstar Earvin "Magic" Johnson had contracted the virus that causes AIDS, the department said today.
    The state AIDS information line, 800-272-AIDS, typically receives about 35 calls each day.  Last Friday, the first full day after Johnson's announcement Thursday afternoon, 118 people called.  The following Tuesday, four days later, the State Office of HIV/AIDS received 101 callers.
    "Magic Johnson achieved in one 30-minute press conference what AIDS educators throughout the country have been working towards for years," said Ann Marie Kimball, M.D., M.P.H., director of HIV/AIDS programs for the State Department of Health.  "His willingness to publicly disclose the fact he is HIV-positive has raised significantly the public awareness of this epidemic."
    State officials estimate that about 15,000 people are infected with the Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. Nationwide, it is believed that one million people are infected with HIV.
    While virtually everyone who contracts HIV eventually is diagnosed with AIDS, several factors, including drugs, good nutrition, emotional support and physical exercise, allow people to live up to a decade or more before the onset of AIDS.
    In Washington, 2,683 people have been diagnosed with AIDS, since the epidemic began about 10 years ago.  Thus far, 1,636 have died. Nationally, nearly 200,000 have been diagnosed with just over 126,000 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
    The State Department of Health Office of HIV/AIDS was not the only office working overtime last week.  The national AIDS hotline, 800-342-AIDS, typically receives about 30 calls per hour.  In the period between midnight Wednesday, Nov. 6, through midnight Nov. 7, the hotline received a total of 42,741 calls.
    -0-                     11/14/91
    /CONTACT:  Dean R. Owen, 206-753-3934, or Ann Marie Kimball, 206-586-8344, both of the Washington State Department of Health/ CO:  Washington State Department of Health ST:  Washington IN:  HEA SU: SC-LA -- SE004 -- 4391 11/14/91 11:30 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 14, 1991
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