by Leah Barker
While World AIDS Day isn’t the happiest holiday affair, it is certainly important. First established by the World Health Organization on Dec. 1, 1988, World AIDS Day encourages public support to prevent the spread of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection, encourages awareness about the AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) pandemic caused by the spread of HIV, and encourages compassion for those affected by HIV/AIDS.
There is some good news this year, as the number of new infections of HIV has been reduced globally by 20 percent, according to a statement from Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS executive director and United Nations undersecretary-general. While the lower number of new infections is great news, there are still an estimated 1.1 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS and about 33 million people worldwide. At least 30 million people have died from AIDS.
To start off World AIDS Day events in Colorado Springs, Dr. Calvin Wilson will be discussing activism and global health in the Cornerstone Screening Room (Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.) at 7 tonight. Anyone interested can learn a bit about the importance of education and community-oriented care in improving health around the world.
Wilson is internationally recognized as an expert in the development of family medicine and primary health care training programs. He has worked extensively in Ecuador, Jordan, Iraq and Rwanda building primary health care facilities and medical communities. He is currently serving as the director of the Center for Global Health at the University of Colorado-Denver, and his visit is sponsored by Colorado College’s Students for Global Health and political science department.
Tomorrow, Dec. 1, S-CAP (Southern Colorado AIDS Project) will be holding its observance service at Pine Creek High School (10750 Thunder Mountain Ave.) at 7 p.m.
Both S-CAP and Planned Parenthood representatives will be speaking at Colorado College in Gaylord Hall (902 N. Cascade Ave.) from 6 to 8 p.m. Free food will be provided.
On Dec. 3, S-CAP will hold its opening reception for the “Beneath the Empty Shoes: Voices from the Path of HIV/AIDS” exhibit at the East and Penrose libraries; the reception is at East from 4 to 6 p.m. The exhibit features video interviews, personal stories from Colorado Springs families, and a historical review of the AIDS pandemic, aimed at “offering us all an opportunity to face stigma and challenge ignorance.” The exhibit runs through Dec. 30.