Student groups open dialogue on HIV/AIDS
World AIDS day presented opportunities to raise awareness
December 1, 2011, 10:36 pm · Updated December 1, 2011, 10:51 pm·
In recognition of yesterday’s World AIDS Day, various campus groups held events to raise awareness and educate community members about matters of prevention.
This year marks the 23rd annual awareness day.
“World AIDS Day is an opportunity to turn from some of our daily activities and stresses to reflect on the many people lost to and affected by HIV/AIDS over the last thirty years,” LGBT Center Director Bob Schoenberg wrote in an email.
Around the world, an estimated 33 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, according to the AIDS Library of Philadelphia. 1.1 million live in the United States.
In Philadelphia, an estimated 18,600 people live with HIV/AIDS.
“Of course, in light of the enormous impact HIV/AIDS has had and is having around the world, we really should be thinking about it and working to end it every day,” Schoenberg added.
The Institute of Contemporary Art sponsored an event called “Unleashing the Archive,” which featured a film comprised of archival footage by Jim Hodges, Encke King and Carlos Marques da Cruz.
“We really wanted to highlight a greater awareness that HIV/AIDS is still a problem in the community,” said Jennifer Burris, an ICA curatorial fellow who organized the event.
Burris added the hope for the project was two-fold — to raise awareness and target at-risk communities, noting ICA didn’t want to just focus on the people who already know about prevention and safe-sex practices.
In conjunction with the film screening, the ICA approached different Philadelphia publications, including the Daily Pennsylvanian, to print images of the HIV/AIDS movement on their websites or print publications on Dec. 1.
“Kissing doesn’t kill: greed and indifference do” was the headline of the image posted on the Penn LGBT Center’s website for World AIDS Day.
As an extension of World AIDS Day, the LGBT Center will host a series of speakers on Monday. “Beyond the Stigma” will invite speakers from Couseling and Psychological Services, the Penn Africa Project, LGBT People in Medicine and Camp Dreamcatcher.
Free resources for HIV/STD testing will also be available at the event.
PennULTRA or United LGBTQPenn through Radical Arts — a new organization under the Lambda Alliance umbrella — will host a performing arts show called “The Gay Agenda” on Friday, Dec. 9.
“The main goal is to open a dialogue … so we can explore a lot of issues that are facing the LGBT community that we haven’t yet had the chance to,” said College sophomore Noah Levine, who is one of the founding members of PennULTRA.
The performance will take place in the Platt Performance House and PennULTRA will be collecting monetary donations for AIDS awareness and education groups in Philadelphia, as well as material donations, that will be brought to Philly AIDS Thrift Store.
Art is one of the best ways to open a dialogue and ask questions about AIDS while bringing people together, Levine added.
The number of events centered around World AIDS Day increased from last year, when many groups did not have events.
“It’s absolutely indispensible that we keep it in the forefront of our minds,” College sophomore and newly elected Lambda Alliance chair Hugh Hamilton said.