World AIDS Day - Humboldt State Now

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day 2006 25 years of HIV/AIDS and Counting -- 40 Million Infected -- What Will You Do?

The AIDS epidemic is a global emergency that affects people in every country on earth. UNAIDS estimated that by the end of 2005, a total of 25 million people had died of AIDS since it was first recognized in 1981. In 2005 alone, some 38.6 million people were living with HIV, 4.1 million were newly infected and 2.8 million people lost their lives (2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, UNAIDS). In Humboldt County there are currently between 200-300 people living with HIV/AIDS and nearly 150 residents have died of AIDS.

Humbold State Univesity will have an open forum on December 1st between 11:30 -1. The open forum will be held in the Green and Gold Room in Founders Hall. This will be a safe space to acknowledge and remember those whose lives have been touched by HIV/AIDS. This will be a place to share information, thoughts, feelings and experiences. We will have time for silence, speakers, music and dialogue. Six Rivers Planned Parenthood will be available for HIV testing in the Student Health Cente after the event from 1-3, low or no cost.

In an effort to raise awareness about the epidemic, pay tribute to those who have lost their lives and honor those who currently live with the disease the Humboldt County AIDS Task Force is hosting the 1st Annual HIV/AIDS Vigil and Walk. The event will take place on Saturday December 2nd in Eureka’s Old Town. Walkers will meet at the Romano Gabriel Sculpture Garden at 2nd street between D & E at 6pm. The walk will begin around 6:30 and will traverse the sidewalks of 2nd and 3rd Streets, culminating in the candlelight vigil at 7pm. In order to present a strong visual image of solidarity, we would like to encourage participants to wear red if possible. Transportation for HSU students will be provided, first come first served. Call Mira Mazur at 826-5123 to reserve your seat on the bus.

“In the spirit of this year’s World AIDS Day theme, accountability, I urge every citizen of our community to educate and empower themselves and join in the fight against HIV and AIDS. This can be as simple as taking an HIV test and can extend to becoming a volunteer for a local HIV/AIDS centered organization.” said AIDS Task Force Chair, Rachael Trevino, “World AIDS Day reminds us that far more than being citizens of a country we are citizens of the world. It is an important reminder that HIV has not gone away, and that there are still many people who are infected or will become infected with the disease throughout the world.”

All proceeds from this event will be donated to Development in Gardening (DIG); a San Diego based nonprofit organization created by former Peace Corps volunteers. Their mission is “to provide urban based HIV patients living in low and middle income nations the highest nutrition possible through vegetable micro-gardens.”Learn more about this innovative organization at their website, www.developmentingardening.org.

If you are interested in collecting pledges, either as an individual or as a team, please collect a World AIDS Day packet at the Eureka Community Health Center, Six Rivers Planned Parenthood, the Arcata Open Door Clinic, or HSU’s Student Health Center. If you would like a packet mailed to you directly, please contact Michael Weiss via phone at (707)268-2143 or via email at mweiss@co.humboldt.ca.us. Record your collections on the pledge form and bring it with you to the event. Even if you can’t attend the event we would like to encourage you to participate by collecting pledges, every dollar makes a difference in the struggle against AIDS. For every five dollars raised a candle will be lit in memory of life lost to AIDS and as a symbol of hope for the 40 million people currently living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.

For more general information about World AIDS Day contact Mira Mazur, HSU’s Health Educator at 826-5123 or mmazur@humboldt.edu