March 8, 2008

Artful expressions of Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

While every day is "awareness day" at ASC, we were pleased to provide an engaging mix of special activities to mark this year's Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day theme of "Get Educated, Get Tested, Get Involved, Get Treated" on Thursday, February 7. Thousands of sister organizations across the U.S. and around the world sponsored similar events.

The day began with "The Silver Fox," a panel on the epidemic's growing impact on persons over the age of 50. "Older adults are getting infected at an alarming rate," observes ASC Training Coordinator Guy Williams. "During the panel, audience members learned about the special risks this under-recognized population faces, and how HIV medical regimens grow more complicated in the context of an aging body."

An original art exhibit by ASC clients and Peer Educators explored the themes of "hope" and "courage" in relation to HIV/AIDS. An art viewing was followed by a powerful testimonial by Minister Antionettea Etienne, co-chair of the NYC Planning Council and New York State Prevention Planning Group Advisory Boards. A participant in the Riverside Global HIV/AIDS Ministry, Minister Etienne spoke of how she became HIV positive and the role the church plays in supporting communities affected by HIV/AIDS. She also spoke movingly about the importance of breaking through stigma to overcome hopelessness and despair. Participants were riveted by her presence and inspired by her story.

We were pleased that, as always, our Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day activities included equal doses of information, inspiration and practical support for our many attendees.

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