World AIDS Day events scheduled

Sunday, November 30, 2003

The Douglas County AIDS Project and the Spencer Museum of Art are cooperating to sponsor a week of World AIDS Day events at the museum.

Two quilt panels -- one international and one more locally focused -- from the Names Project will be on display in the museum's central court through Friday.

The national World AIDS Day theme is "Are You HIV-prejudiced?" and DCAP's activities cater to that theme, says Geri Summers, executive director of the nonprofit agency.

"Basically what we're trying to do is just to increase public awareness and kind of bring it home," Summers says. "While we might be a low-incident state, we still have people in our communities who are living with HIV, and it's really tough."

Five million people worldwide were infected with AIDS in 2002, and 3 million people -- 8,000 per day -- have died of the disease in 2003, according to UNAIDS, the joint United Nations program on AIDS. DCAP is serving about 60 HIV/AIDS clients this year.

The activities will begin at noon Monday, World AIDS Day, with "A Time of Remembrance." The hour-long ceremony will be dedicated to remembering those who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS. Loved ones will ring a bell 22 times to mark the 22 years since the epidemic was identified. John Staniunas, director of University Theatre at Kansas University, will sing, and loved ones will be invited to share stories.

Other scheduled activities are:

Both DCAP and the Douglas County Health Department will sponsor free HIV testing during the week. The health department will do so from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday. DCAP will test from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at its office in the United Way building, 2518 Ridge Court.

For more information about World AIDS Day activities or testing, call DCAP at 843-0040.