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Syracuse University commemorates 20th annual World AIDS Day with AIDS quilt exhibition, other events Dec. 1-3 at Oncenter
Syracuse University commemorates 20th annual World AIDS Day with AIDS quilt exhibition, other events Dec. 1-3 at OncenterNovember 20, 2008Carol K. Masiclatclkim@syr.edu
Dec. 1 marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, a global event dedicated to raising money for research and support, fighting prejudice and promoting AIDS education. It is also a time to remember those lost to the disease. Twenty-five years after the first identification of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS, HIV remains a grave public health concern with 60,000 new cases each year in the United States alone. The World AIDS Day theme for 2008 is “Leadership in the Fight Against AIDS: Keep the Promise.”
Together with the Central New York HIV Care Network, Syracuse University will host a series of events at the Oncenter, including a display of the CNY AIDS Memorial Quilt, which honors those in our area who have died of AIDS. On Dec. 1, SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor will speak at an opening ceremony, along with Mayor Matthew J. Driscoll; Cynthia Morrow, health commissioner of Onondaga County; and U.S. Rep.-elect Dan Maffei. The ceremony will take place at 5:30 p.m.
The quilt exhibition will be open Dec. 1-3 from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. Area middle schools and high schools are arranging student tours of the exhibition, which includes multimedia presentations, an information desk and a meditation area. HIV/AIDS program staff and HIV-positive volunteers will guide visitors and provide information about living with HIV/AIDS. Sean Maloney, a graduate assistant in the SU LGBT Resource Center, is coordinating volunteer recruitment for the event.
“As the University continues in its commitment to civic engagement and learning outside of the classroom, the AIDS Memorial Quilt Exhibition presents a unique opportunity for our students, faculty and staff to gain insight on issues that are impacting our world, both locally and globally,” says Maloney. “The quilts afford viewers a glimpse inside the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS and the memories of those who have passed as a result of the epidemic. Participating in this exhibit will demonstrate how HIV/AIDS both infects and affects a community, specifically, the Syracuse community. “
Volunteers and staff from community-based HIV/AIDS service programs are working on displays for more than 30 quilts honoring persons lost to the AIDS epidemic. Each measuring 12 feet by 12 feet, the quilts will be displayed hanging and also laid out on a floor grid. Visitors interested in learning more about HIV/AIDS, about the community’s response to the epidemic, and measures to prevent the spread of HIV are invited to visit the exhibition’s information center.
The Central New York HIV Care Network is emphasizing youth participation because the rise in HIV/AIDS diagnoses in younger adults indicates that many became infected while quite young, even in their early teens. HIV/AIDS epidemiological data also reveals significant increases in infection within other age cohorts, among African Americans and Latinos, and among women. The spread of HIV/AIDS is determined by behavior rather than identity. To be successful, HIV/AIDS prevention messages must reach all age groups and all sectors of the community.
The Central New York HIV Care Network invites the entire community to attend the events to remember those lost to the epidemic; show support for those who are HIV-positive and those who provide services to them; become better informed about the latest advances in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention; and help raise HIV/AIDS awareness. The public is also invited to attend a faith leaders ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 5:30 p.m. and the closing ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m.
For more information on this event, or to volunteer, contact Maloney at 443-3983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.