Siskiyou County to observe World AIDS Day Dec. 21

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

The 22nd annual World AIDS Day will be observed around the world and in Siskiyou County on and around Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Locally the Siskiyou County HIV/AIDS Foundation, Siskiyou County Behavioral Health and Alcohol and Other Drug Services, College of the Siskiyous, Siskiyou County Office of Education, and the Siskiyou County Public Health Department sponsor the event.

The theme for World AIDS Day 2009 is Universal Access and Human Rights. Understanding HIV and AIDS from a human rights perspective can be difficult.  Human rights are often misunderstood and can sometimes be seen as abstract ideals with not much practical relevance for real people.

With that in mind, a series of slogans were designed around the motifs “I am…”, and “Right to…”. The slogans highlight the relevancy of human rights concerns to HIV and AIDS related issues. The key slogans are:

• I am accepted.

• I am safe.

• I am getting treatment.

• I am well.

• I am living my rights.

• Everyone deserves to live their rights.

• Right to live.

• Right to health.

• Access for all to HIV prevention treatment care and support is a critical part of human rights.

Since 1988 the face and response to AIDS has greatly changed. While many of these changes are positive, this anniversary offers an opportunity to highlight how much more still needs to be done.

World AIDS Day began in 1988 when health ministers from around the world met and agreed on the concept of the day as an opportunity for all of us to come together to demonstrate the importance of AIDS and show solidarity for the cause.

In 2009 this underlining principle of solidarity and awareness remains the same.

To achieve this goal, leadership and action is needed now. Governments must deliver on the promises they have made. Communities must encourage leadership of its members.

Individuals must feel empowered to access treatment, to know their rights and take action against stigma and discrimination, and to know and use methods of prevention against receiving and transmitting HIV.

What you can do locally

• In Weed — Monday, Nov. 30 through Friday Dec. 11, The Names Project.

College of the Siskiyous will display two 12x12 panels from The Names Project, aka: The AIDS Quilt, in the student center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

On Tuesday, Dec. 1 an information table with the latest on HIV/AIDS Prevention as well as a cornucopia of AIDS Awareness goodies will be available from 9 to 11 a.m. HIV Rapid Counseling and Testing may be available. Check-in at the Student Center. Community members are welcome.

• In Yreka — Tuesday, Dec. 1, Candlelight Walk.

Participants will gather at Nature’s Kitchen at 5 p.m. and then at 5:15 p.m. walk with candles lit up to Miner Street Park.

At the conclusion of a short ceremony participants will walk back to Nature’s Kitchen, again with candles lit. Homemade desserts, coffee and tea will follow.

This visual demonstration will signify the commitment to fight the AIDS global epidemic and keep in our thoughts people living with HIV/AIDS and those who have died from AIDS.

Raffle tickets for two handmade quilts will be on sale. Tickets are $2 each or 3 tickets for $5. All proceeds will support the SCHAF’s HIV prevention education program and support services for county residents living with HIV and AIDS.

• In Mount Shasta — Wednesday, Dec. 2, Pasta Benefit Dinner for AIDS Awareness.

Sponsored by the Mount Shasta High School Key Club to be held at the Stage Door, 414 N. Mt. Shasta Blvd. from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tickets sold at the door: $15 per person, $10 for children eight and under.

The event will feature live music, dessert auction, and a 12x12 ft panel of the AIDS Quilt. All proceeds to benefit the Siskiyou County HIV/AIDS Foundation.

For further information contact Ariana Kosel, Mount Shasta High School Key Club at 921-8969; Sandra Haugen, College of the Siskiyous, 859-2907; Blair Loftus, Siskiyou County Public Health Department, 841-2121; Stan Drucker, Siskiyou County HIV/AIDS Foundation, 918-9007; Mark Mitchinson, Siskiyou County Office of Education, 842-8464; Lauri Hunner, Siskiyou County Behavioral Health, AOD Services, 841-4801.