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TMCNet:  Winner of AHF's 2012

[January 03, 2013]

Winner of AHF's 2012 "Test-to-Win" Fiat 500 is Los Angeleno Elizabeth Conn

LOS ANGELES --(Business Wire)--

About 100 people gathered on New Year's Day at the Pasadena 'Out of the Closet' thrift store operated by leading global nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) to hear the announcement of who would be the lucky winner of a new 2012 Fiat 500 convertible from the organization's four-month-long "Test-to-Win" contest. Over 2,000 people entered the contest by getting a free HIV test at over a dozen affiliated testing events since September or joining the contest online, and that list was narrowed down to just 100 finalists in December.

Of those finalists, 44 showed up at the Pasadena winner announcement gala on the first day of the new year - a requirement in eligibility to win the car - waiting and shopping in the thrift store with their friends until the official drawing at 6 p.m., which was conducted by Marcos Ledesma, 36, and Francis Xavier De Melo, 48, two international AHF representatives who flew in from Mexico and India, respectively, to ride on the organization's Tournament of Roses float, 'The Global Face of AIDS,' which highlighted the breadth of AHF's global work in the fight against HIV/AIDS and which won the Queen's Trophy for best use of roses. This is AHF's second consecutive win of the prestigious award.

As the contestants anxiously looked on, Francis blindly pulled a name from the basket Marcos had shaken up, and he announced that the winner was 22-year-old Pacific Plisades resident Elizabeth Conn, who gleefully came forward to claim the key to her brand new car, which came from Santa Monica Fiat.

The "Test-to-Win" contest - a media and awareness campaign to encourage more widespread HIV testing - began on September 22 with a testing event where AHF introduced bioLytical Laboratories' INSTI™ Rapid HIV Test, which provides 99.9% accurate results in just one minute. Though this innovatively easy and quick test has been used in countries throughout Africa and elsewhere for over four years, the September event was its premiere introduction to American testers following its July approval by the Food and Drug Administration, and AHF continues to exclusively offer the test at their myriad testing facilities nationwide and through the mobile testing vans they dispatch in major cities across the country.

At the time of the September launch of the INSTI™ Rapid HIV Test, Whitney Engeran-Cordova, Senior Director of AHF's Public Health Division, said, "The increased availability of the INSTI™ 60-second rapid test in the U.S. is a game-changer and will allow for large-scale testing events and new ways for point-of-care testing in Emergency Rooms. Most importantly, it will lead to new techniques of reaching people."

"AHF has used more than one million INSTI™ tests over the past four years in our programs and partnerships in Uganda, India, Mexico and Estonia," said Terri Ford, Chief of Global Policy and Advocacy. "We find it to be the best test out there today, and very popular with testing partners around the world. We are very glad that we can now also bring this testing technology home to people here in the U.S."

Conn entered the contest by being one of the twenty entrants who got tested at a testing event held at West Hollywood's LA Sports Club clothing store on Halloween. No one tested positive for HIV at that event, and of the 894 total people who were tested at the 13 events held throughout the Southland between September and December, only five of those people tested positive for the virus and were linked to treatment. Another 1,400 people entered the contest online or by signing up with AHF representatives via iPad at the various testing events, which were held in conjunction with events like the West Hollywood Auto Show, the AIDS Project LA AIDS Walk, Go-Go Dancer Appreciation Day, and KIIS FM's Jingle Ball.

About AHF

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider in the USA. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 183,000 individuals in 28 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean Eastern Europe and Asia. Additional information is available at www.aidshealth.org. For more information on testing and testing locations, visit www.freehivtest.net.


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