World AIDS Day in Pittsburgh

Complacency about HIV and AIDS will prove deadly.

Wednesday December 1 is World AIDS Day and Pittsburgh groups are banding together to ensure the region does not take a sigh of relief on this issue.  People are still dying.  People are living with medical advancements, but face barriers to the lives we take for granted. People are engaging in risky behavior because of stigmas, stereotypes, and social pressure. 

One interesting event is the film screening of TAPOLOGO by New Voices Pittsburgh.

Here's a message from PERSAD Executive Director, Betty Hill.  She speaks to the issue with eloquence …

Taking Up the Cause – A Message from Betty Hill

 

As World AIDS Day, December 1, approaches again this year, I have had the occasion to be talking even more than usual to folks about HIV/AIDS. In the wake of this virus are so many stories of loss. I am struck by how common the loss is and how wide spread the impact. Nearly everyone I talk to has a story of someone they know who has been affected by this disease. Yet, it is clear that this disease is not the darling of our imaginations and that it gets so little attention compared to other causes. We have a not so funny joke at our house that if we see one more thing draped in pink we are going to scream!! Perhaps we have disease envy? With so many diseases, so many ribbons, how do we prevent new infections, find those that are infected but don’t know, and provide care to those that need it?  

 

When my mother died of cancer years ago, I remember that one neighbor sent a donation in my mother’s honor to an agency that treated a disease which I had never heard of. I remember thinking, “What does that have anything to do with my mother?”…and it didn’t, but it was my neighbor’s cause. Not to quibble in an Ann Landers kind of way about whether it was really ok to donate to a cause that wasn’t one suggested by the family in the obituary, this cause was what mattered to my neighbor and around which he focused his energy and resources. He cared enough about his cause to think everyone else should.

 

While I’m convinced that HIV/AIDS affects us all, I know that it won’t be the ribbon that everyone wears. Maybe it’s your ribbon. If you have a loss that you need to honor, or an infection that you need to prevent, or someone who needs information, or someone who needs care, maybe HIV/AIDS is your cause.

 

The World AIDS Day commemorations (information on World AIDS Day events are listed below or can be found at www.pittsburghred.org) provide a number of great ways to get involved and take up the cause – because it’s your cause.

 

Betty Hill

bhill@persadcenter.org

412-441-9786 x212

Here's a list of other local activities.

Press Conference with Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
Wednesday – December 1, 2010 – 10:30am

City-County Building

 

Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force 25th Anniversary Luncheon

Wednesday – December 1, 2010 – 11am-1pm

Rivers Club, One-Oxford Centre
Contact: 412-973-7456 or sorr@patf.org

Candlelight Vigil
Wednesday – December 1, 2010 – 5:30pm

Starts at CMU, down Forbes Avenue to the lawn outside Heinz memorial Chapel

 

23rd Annual World AIDS Day Memorial Service

Wednesday – December 1, 2010 – 7pm

Heinz Memorial Chapel
Contact: 412-624-2008

See you might expect me to make a comment about Luke's participation.  I think he should be doing things like this more frequently.  I can't attend because I have 8 million work meetings this week, but I'm glad so many groups are coalescing around this moment in the holiday calendar, this moment to remember.  For those of us who don't remember, we need to stop and realize what is happening around us today. 

sf

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