July 14, 2001

Ortho Biotech Products, L.P., marketer of PROCRIT® (Epoetin alfa)1, a medication that treats anemia associated with certain conditions, is joining forces with the Interamerican College of Physicians and Surgeons (ICPS), the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA), and the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (IAPAC), to launch a comprehensive HIV and anemia education campaign that will specifically reach out to Hispanics and African Americans. HIV-related anemia affects about 95 percent of people living with HIV at some stage in their disease, which demonstrates the need to generate national awareness of this condition. This is particularly critical in the Hispanic and African American communities where too often there is a dire need to fill the health information, education, and services void.

A new study on people living with HIV, which was conducted by Yankelovich Partners, Inc./Harris Interactive, and sponsored by Ortho Biotech Products, L.P., indicates the impact of HIV-related anemia may be severely under-recognized, as most patients do not have enough information about the condition or their risk of developing it. Specifically, the study found that African Americans (57 percent) and Hispanics (40 percent) were not sure what caused HIV-related anemia. Most surprising, Hispanics (20 percent) and African Americans (26 percent) are the least sure of how anemia is diagnosed, compared to Caucasians/others. Among other survey findings, since starting HIV treatment, 63 percent of Hispanics and 59 percent of African Americans have had to significantly cut back on their daily activities due to tiredness and weakness, which are anemia symptoms.

"Misconceptions and the lack of information about HIV-related anemia – particularly with respect to red blood cell count, a determinant factor of anemia – among Hispanics and African Americans are overwhelming," says Gary Reedy, president of Ortho Biotech Products, L.P. "We hope that the results of this survey will provide African American and Hispanic HIV-positive patients and their physicians with a starting point to open the lines of communication about HIV-related anemia."

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