In recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, VIP Smiles owned by celebrity dentist Dr. Catrise Austin will be offering FREE HIV testing by appointment from February 7-9th, 2012. VIP Smiles is the first private dental practice in the nation certified and trained to offer the test, which can be administered orally during regular dental exams and delivers results in just 20 minutes. The theme for 2012’s National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is I Am My Brother/Sister’
According to The National Black AIDS Day Organization, in 2009, an estimated 16,741 Blacks were diagnosed with AIDS in the US, a number that has slowly decreased since 2006. By the end of 2008, an estimated 240,627 Blacks with an AIDS diagnosis had died in the US. In 2007, HIV was the ninth leading cause of death for all Blacks and the third leading cause of death for both Black men and Black women aged 35–44. Unfortunately, many of those who are infected with HIV are unaware of their status and may unknowingly transmit the virus to others. While only representing 14% of the U.S. population, Blacks account for 44% of all new HIV infections, according to the most recent information collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2009. Blacks are the most disproportionately impacted racial/ethnic group across all sub-populations (e.g., men, women, and youth) in the United States – at all stages of the disease – from new infections to deaths.
Dr. Austin says, “Early signs and symptoms of HIV oftentimes appears in the mouth first, so dentists have a unique opportunity to play a significant role in detecting HIV and championing rapid HIV testing. As an African American dentist, I’m proud to be the first private dental practice in the United States to offer the OraQuick ADVANCE® test. We’ve partnered with the Kenkou Group, New York City’s premiere concierge healthcare agency this year to generate HIV/AIDS awareness and also to provide free HIV testing for the observance of the 2012 National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day”.
The OraQuick ADVANCE® Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test, now used in a growing number of dental clinics and dental teaching facilities throughout the United States, is the only rapid HIV test to be approved by the FDA for use with oral fluid. To administer the test, the dentist swabs the outer gums with the device and then inserts it into a vial containing a developer solution. The procedure is fast and painless, and delivers accurate results within 20 minutes. In the clinical studies by the manufacturer, the test correctly identified 99.3 percent of people who were infected with HIV-1 and 99.9 percent of people who were not infected with HIV-1.
Dr. Catrise Austin’s trailblazing work and dedication has not gone unnoticed. On June 9th, 2011 Dr. Austin was honored in New York City by the National Black Leadership Commission On AIDS, Inc at the Choose Life Awards. She also was recognized by Nation to Nation Networking Ltd. at their Fourth Annual International Diaspora Award Dinner Gala on October 13, 2011. Dr. Austin says “I’m extremely honored to be recognized as an emerging leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It’s been 30 years since we first learned about this epidemic and unfortunately the statistics for infection are not improving tremendously. My goal as a dentist is to recruit more private practice dentists nationwide to start testing and introduce the dental office as another option for patients to feel comfortable getting tested routinely twice a year. On December 23rd 2009, I detected my first preliminary positive HIV screening results in my dental practice by using the OraQuick ADVANCE® Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test. My first positive patient was a 23 year old Black male. I realized at that moment how real this epidemic is and how necessary HIV testing is to stop the spread of the HIV virus.” http://www.youtube.com/
Dr. Austin now speaks professionally to medical professionals, dentists, and various organizations across the country on the importance of HIV testing and how to recognize oral signs and symptoms of HIV. In 2012, her goal is to speak more publically about the importance of getting tested and knowing your status and hopes to meet her personal challenge of screening a minimum of 1000 patients at her private practice. To kick start this challenge, Dr. Catrise Austin will be offering free HIV testing at her private practice VIP Smiles in New York City by appointment only from February 7th-9th, 2012. For a free HIV screening, contact VIP Smiles at 212-262-6054 or visit http://www.zocdoc.com/
About National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day:
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a national HIV testing and treatment community mobilization initiative targeted at Blacks in the United States and the Diaspora. There are four specific focal points: education, testing, involvement, and treatment. Educationally, the focus is to get Blacks educated about the basics of HIV/AIDS in their local communities. Testing is at the core of this initiative, as it is hoped that Blacks will mark February 7th of every year as their annual or bi-annual day to get tested for HIV. For 2012, we are mobilizing communities to be the voice and face. The theme for 2012 is I Am My Brother/Sister’
About The KenKou Group:
With over 14 years of clinical and administrative experience, Shenekia Loud, CEO of New York City’s premiere concierge healthcare agency called The KenKou Group has created a reputation within the healthcare industry for utilizing her diverse background, empathy and professionalism to provide exceptional care to every patient/client she engages. Shenekia adamantly believes that everyone deserves superior care and compassion. Before establishing The Kenkou Group, Shenekia worked at the senior management level with some of most prominent healthcare companies on the east coast. During her tenure with these companies, she has served as Clinical Director, designing and implementing healthcare delivery programs. In May 2010, Shenekia founded The Kenkou Group to bridge the gap between large healthcare corporations and patients. By removing the intimidation of dealing with insurance companies and other healthcare organizations and personalizing each care package to suit the patient’s needs, The Kenkou Group provides stellar service and quality care not just in the home, but outside of the home as well.
Shenekia holds a degree in Healthcare Administration and is a Certified HIV/AIDS Counselor. She is a licensed Life, Accident and Health insurance agent and is currently pursuing a post-graduate certificate as a First Surgical Assistant (P.A.) specializing in Trauma and Orthopedics. For more information about Shenekia Loud and The KenKou Group visit www.thekenkougroup.com.
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Dr. Catrise Lynette Austin is a trailblazing expert in the field of dentistry. She is a professional speaker, entrepreneur, HIV advocate, and founder of VIP Smiles-a modern dental practice in New York City.