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SANTEE -- Families without health insurance who live in this poor, rural part of South Carolina known as the "buckle on the stroke belt" turned out Friday in big numbers for the sixth annual Interstate-95 health fair.

Elaine Horton said she had a full run down of free health screenings: She had her bone density, blood pressure and cholesterol checked. And her arms were loaded up with plastic bags filled with information on how to live a healthy lifestyle and access health care.

Horton, like many others at the health fair, doesn't have health coverage and she's not sure what is available to her.

Connecting people directly with information about the new health care law and what coverage is now available was one of the goals that event host U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., had in mind for this year's health fair.

The people who came out for the health fair can become "missionaries" in their community to help others learn about the new law and how to live a healthier lifestyle, Clyburn said. The event over the years has helped change the way some people live.

"More and more community and church groups are now talking about prevention and trying to get their members in touch with better habits," he said.

A station was set up to help people learn about the new law that will provide nearly half a million more South Carolinians with health insurance when it is fully rolled out beginning in 2014. Clyburn's staff helped put on a presentation about the new law, a representative from the state Department of Health and Human Services was on-hand to answer questions and computer stations were available for people to find individualized information.

South Carolina's I-95 corridor is known for its poverty and health care disparities. It is home to the highest rate of prostate cancer deaths among black males, among other chronic conditions. Screenings were also offered for glaucoma, blood sugar, prostate cancer and HIV and AIDS.

Reach Yvonne Wenger at 803-926-7855 or ywenger@postandcourier.com.