Houston commemorates World AIDS Day 2010
by Nancy Ford
Since its initial emergence into world consciousness in 1981, HIV and AIDS has claimed more than 25 million lives, with HIV infections continuing to increase at alarming rates. In Houston alone, a new HIV infection occurs every eight hours with 36 percent of those new infections occurring in young people, ages 13–29. Women, young people, and persons of color are specifically considered to be at elevated risk of infection.
Recognized each December 1 since 1988, World AIDS Day is a day of hope and celebration of life, as well as a reminder that there is still much more work to be done until a cure or vaccine is found. With its 2010 theme “Universal Access and Human Rights,” observances honoring those lost to and living with AIDS are scheduled globally, and our town is no exception.
• Commemorating World AIDS Day, Bering Omega Community Services presents a citywide yoga-thon throughout the month of November. Participating studios donate the proceeds of designated classes to Bering Omega and/or have collection boxes available for donations. Log on to facebook.com/beringomega for a list of participating yoga studios. November 1–30. Benefits Bering Omega Community Services. firstname.lastname@example.org • 713/341-3763.
• University of Houston’s Wellness Center has obtained two 12’ x 12’ sections of the NAMES Project AIDS Quilt as an artful reminder of those lost to HIV/AIDS. Individually crafted quilt panels are hung from the atrium at the UH Campus Recreation and Wellness Center rotunda from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. on December 1. In addition to providing information about HIV and safe sex to students, the UH Health Center offers free HIV testing to students and employees, December 1, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. University of Houston Health Center, Building 525 • 713/743-5151.
• AIDS Foundation Houston hosts its annual luncheon commemorating World AIDS Day. The luncheon highlights Camp Hope, an AFH-supported summer camp for children infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Longtime Camp Hope counselors Heidi Henrichs, Thom McDaniel, and Lynn Selzer receive the 2010 Shelby Hodge Vision Award, given to outstanding individuals who have dedicated their efforts to the fight against HIV/AIDS. The luncheon also includes a raffle of a two-year lease on a 2011 MINI, donated by Momentum MINI. Celebrity makeup artist Edward Sanchez of Edward Sanchez Cosmetics, and Dr. Carolyn Farb, Houston’s “First Lady of Philanthropy,” chair the annual event presented by AFH and Chevron Corporation. Benefits AFH. December 1, 11 a.m. Hilton-Americas Houston, Ballroom of the Americas, 1600 Lamar St. • aidshelp.org.
• Gay Men’s Chorus of Houston, Montrose Counseling Center’s Sally Huffer, poet Aaron Coleman, KHOU-TV’s Alex Sanz, Urban Souls Dancers, and others participate in City of Houston World AIDS Day 2010’s Candlelight Observance, sponsored by multiple local AIDS service organizations. Candles to be provided by organizers; please do not bring your own. December 1, 5:30–7 p.m. Tranquility Park (or City Hall Rotunda, in case of rain). • montrosecouncelingcenter.org.
• Theatre New West presents a reading of Larry Kramer’s groundbreaking drama, The Normal Heart. Benefits Houston GLBT Community Center. December 1, 7:30 p.m. Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Pkwy. • Reservations: 713/522-2204. For more on The Normal Heart, click here.
• Montrose Counseling Center presents its annual Paper Chain of Remembrance dis- played in the center’s lobby throughout the month of December. The chain is comprised of strips of paper bearing messages of hope and encouragement to those with HIV/AIDS. Additional paper strips are available for anyone wishing to add a link to the chain. December 1–31. The center also sponsors Positively Resilient, a free live stage reading of “stories of love and hate, optimism and regret, bravery and fear, tears and laughter” from local HIV/AIDS survivors. December 2, 7 p.m. GLBT Cultural Center, 1st Floor Community Room, 401 Branard St. • montrosecounselingcenter.org.
• Bethel Church UCC, an open and affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ, presents its annual Bilingual World AIDS Day Service, December 4, 6 p.m. 1107 N. Shepherd Dr. • 713/861-6670.
• Numerous local AIDS service, business, and arts organizations commemorate World AIDS Day 2010 with Fierce Productions’ You Better Ask Somebody by Dallas playwright Saleemah Jones, a drama with a little comic relief thrown in for good measure. Students from Alief Hastings High School also perform “Seasons of Love” as the opening song. Community partners from supporting agencies will be on hand before, during, and after the show to talk to patrons regarding HIV/AIDS services that are available in the community. (No HIV testing is scheduled at the event.) Tickets for the performance are $20, with all proceeds supporting HIV awareness activities in 2011. December 4, 8 p.m. St. John’s United Methodist Church, 2019 Crawford St. • worldaidsdayhouston.com.
FREE HIV TESTING
• Encouraging anyone who is at risk for HIV to get tested, Legacy Community Health Services offers free HIV testing at two of their Houston-area clinics: the Westheimer Clinic (215 Westheimer Rd.) conducts testing December 1, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. The Lyons Avenue Health Center (5602 Lyons Ave.) conducts testing December 1, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. • legacycommunityhealth.org.
• Montrose Counseling Center offers anonymous and confidential HIV testing. December 1. 401 Branard St. • montrose counselingcenter.org • 713/529-0037.
For more weekly HIV testing sites, click here…