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The Houston Rockets Join With Mayor Parker, Local Health Department and AIDS Organizations to Mobilize Fans to be “Greater Than AIDS”

HOUSTON – Tonight at the Toyota Center, the Houston Rockets join with Mayor Annise Parker, the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, the Bee Busy Learning Institute, and the Center for AIDS to get out information about HIV/AIDS and reduce stigma surrounding the disease.The special HOUSTON>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.

“Leslie Alexander and the entire Rockets organization are thrilled to be working alongside Mayor Parker and local health organizations in Houston to promote awareness and understanding of the issues related to HIV/AIDS,” said Rockets Chief Executive Officer Tad Brown. “This partnership allows us to make a real difference for the more than one million Americans who are living with HIV/AIDS today. We look forward to assisting Greater Than AIDS in its mission to increase awareness of the daily challenges faced by these individuals.”

In addition to in-arena messaging throughout tonight’s Rockets game against the Boston Celtics, Mayor Parker will address the crowd during halftime to introduce a NBA/Greater Than AIDS public service message featuring NBA All Stars Pau Gasol, Al Horford and Russell Westbrook and WNBA player Candice Wiggins, whose father died of AIDS. The Rockets are also working with Greater Than AIDS and local Houston organizations to organize a Player Appearance with a Rockets player.

City of Houston Mayor Annise Parker stated, “This work with the Houston Rockets organization marks an unprecedented collaboration between public and private partners to make Houston greater than AIDS. As Mayor, I remain committed to our goals ofincreasing opportunities for diagnosing and treating HIV, developing new effective strategies for preventing HIV, and working to get more Houstonians involved in spreading the message that we are all responsible for fighting AIDS.”

Staff and volunteers from leading Houston organizations – the Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS), Bee Busy Learning Institute, and the Center for AIDS –will also be on-hand at the Toyota Center to distribute custom informational materials that connect fans with local services. All materials distributed to fans at the game feature these local resources.

“This is such an important partnership for creating a healthier Houston,” said Marlene McNeese-Ward, HDHHS’s bureau chief for HIV/STD and Viral Hepatitis Prevention.”In Houston, we estimate that there are over 3,000 persons infected with HIV who don’t know it. Being able to utilize recognizable sports figures and mainstream events such as this helps us to raise the awareness about the impact that HIV/AIDS has in our community while also working to reduce the stigma around getting informed, getting involved, and getting tested.”

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 Houston area remains disproportionately impacted, with higher than national prevalence rates in Houston.

For more information about the Greater Than AIDS/NBA partnership, go to:www.greaterthan.org/nba.

About Greater Than AIDS

Greater Than AIDS is an unprecedented collaboration among a broadcoalition of public and private sector partners united in response to theHIV/AIDS crisis in the United States, in particular among Black Americans andother disproportionately affected groups. Through a national media campaign and targetedcommunity outreach, Greater Than AIDS aims to increase knowledge andunderstanding about HIV/AIDS and confront the stigma surrounding the disease. www.greaterthan.org

The Kaiser Family Foundation – a leader in health policy andcommunications – provides strategic direction and day-to-day management, aswell as oversees the production of the media campaign. The Kaiser Family Foundation is not associated with KaiserPermanente or Kaiser Industries.The Black AIDSInstitute – 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 theU.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to refocus attention onthe domestic epidemic. Additional,financial and substantive support is provided by the Elton John AIDSFoundation, Ford Foundation and MAC AIDS Fund, among others.

About Greater Than AIDS / NBA Cares Partnership

Greater ThanAIDS and the National Basketball Association have teamed up to mobilize NBAfans and local communities in response to AIDS in the United States and reducethe stigma associated with the disease. The partnership includes television andradio public service ads (PSAs) featuring NBA/WNBA players, including Pau Gasol(Los Angeles Lakers), Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks), Russell Westbrook (OklahomaCity Thunder) and Candice Wiggins (Minnesota Lynx), whose father, formerprofessional baseball player Alan Wiggins, died of AIDS in 1991.The partnership also includes targetedactivations, community events, and special “Greater Than AIDS” in-arena nightsto bring attention to HIV/AIDS in priority markets.Learn more: www.greaterthan.org/nba

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