They’ve somewhat gone the way of Freedom Rings and Pink Triangle pins—they’re just not the must-have, ubiquitous fashion accessory it used to be. Yet, the disease it was designed to draw awareness to remains very much among us and, unfortunately, lives on.
So once again on December 1, the day recognized since 1988 as World AIDS Day, red ribbons will be retrieved from jewelry boxes and dresser drawers to decorate the lapels of individuals for whom the fight against HIV/AIDS continues.
Each year on this date, hundreds of cities around the globe hold candlelight observances and memorial services honoring those who have succumbed to the deadly disease first detected 30 years ago and mistakenly categorized a “gay cancer.” In addition to its moving Citywide World AIDS Day 2011’s Candlelight Observance, Houston is presenting a number of events that not only memorialize those lost to HIV and AIDS, but also offer hope to those living with the virus.
Salutations for a Cause Yogathon
Yoga One Studios, The Houston City Club, and Bikram Hot Yoga Houston are among the many area yoga and fitness studios promoting World AIDS Day by donating the proceeds from specific classes or encouraging members to make donations to fight HIV/AIDS. Benefits Bering Omega Community Services. Through December 10. beringomega.org.
The Normal Heart
Theatre New West presents a staged reading of Larry Kramer’s landmark 1985 play set in the early years of AIDS epidemic. A discussion with Dr. Joseph Gathe, Legacy Community Health Services’ Amy Leonard with Legacy, and University of Houston students follows the play. Benefits University of Houston LGBT Resource Center. November 28, 7:30 p.m. Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Pkwy. • 713/522-2204.
Randy Shilts Masterpiece
Montrose Counseling Center presents a screening of And the Band Played On, November 29, 7 p.m. GLBT Cultural Center, 401 Branard St. • montrosecounselingcenter.org.
World AIDS Day Ecumenical Service
Harris County Hospital District and Houston GLBT Community Center presents a World AIDS Day Ecumenical Service and “Tree of Remembrance,” with remarks by Thomas Street Clinic chaplain Burton Bagby-Grose. Service followed by an Information Fair. December 1, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Thomas Street Health Center’s chapel, 2015 Thomas St. • hchdonline.com • 713/873-4000.
AIDS Foundation Houston’s 14th Annual World AIDS Day Luncheon
Thirty years after HIV/AIDS entered our collective consciousness, the emphasis is on design at AIDS Foundation Houston’s 14th Annual World AIDS Day Luncheon, presented by Chevron. Honorary luncheon co-chairs are fashion designer Cesar Galindo and architects Fred Smith and Ken Newberry. The luncheon auction features items from Galindo’s signature line, as well as a one-of-a-kind custom Levi’s Trucker Jacket designed by various celebrities and other fashion leaders. The luncheon also honors City of Houston Mayor Annise Parker with the Shelby Hodge Vision Award for her compassion and support of those affected by or living with HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic. Momentum MINI provides a lease to an all-new 2012 MINI Cooper for the event’s raffle. Benefits the 38 programs of AIDS Foundation Houston. December 1, 11 a.m. Hilton Americas-Houston Grand Ballroom, 1600 Lamar St. • aidshelp.org/worldaidsday2011 • 713/623-6796.
Citywide World AIDS Day 2011’s Candlelight Observance
Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker, Texas State Representative Garnet Coleman, Grace Lutheran Church’s Rev. Lura Groen, Montrose Counseling Center’s Sally Huffer, KHOU-TV’s Alex Sanz, Bayou City Performing Arts members, and others participate in the Citywide World AIDS Day 2011’s Candlelight Observance, sponsored by multiple local AIDS service organizations, PharmaHealth, and Walgreens. December 1, 5:30–7 p.m. Tranquility Park, 400 Rusk Street (or City Hall Rotunda, in the event of inclement weather) • montrosecouncelingcenter.org.
Chain of Remembrance
Montrose Counseling Center presents its annual Paper Chain of Remembrance. 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. Montrose Counseling Center’s 2nd Floor Lobby, 401 Branard St. • montrosecounselingcenter.org • 713/529-0037.
Tapestries of Hope
In Zimbabwe, a myth exists that claims HIV-infected men can be cured by having sex with a virgin, leading to an increase of rape that is spreading the HIV virus. Filmmaker Michealene Cristini Risley focuses on Betty Makoni’s Girl Child Network, which aims to re-empower abused children and provides a network of protection for rape victims. 2009. December 1, 6:30 p.m. Showtime (sho.com).
Keep a Child Alive
Despite the ravages HIV/AIDS has inflicted on the African continent, pockets of hope exist. Musician Alicia Keys, accompanied by five winners of Keyes’s KCA text/website awareness contest, visits sites in Johannesburg and Durban that provide first-class AIDS care, anti-retroviral treatment, support, nutrition, and love to children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. December 1, 8 p.m. Showtime (sho.com • keepachildalive.org).
Sex in an Epidemic
This insightful documentary offers an historical perspective of HIV/AIDS, starting more than 30 years ago with the emergence of GRID, the “gay cancer,” and chronicling how AIDS changed the way an increasingly educated population has sex. Jean Carlomusto directs. 2010. December 1, 9:05 p.m. Showtime (sho.com).
HIV Testing is also available on World AIDS Day and beyond at the following locations:
Montrose Counseling Center offers HIV testing via oral rapid HIV Testing, requiring no drawing of blood, at the recently remodeled “Disco Kroger.” December 1, 7 a.m.–6 p.m. 3300 Montrose Blvd. • montrosecounselingcenter.org • 713/529-0037.
HIV Testing for U.S. Veterans
They take care of our country; now it’s time to take care of them. Michael E. DeBakey, VA Medical Center, offers an information booth in the lobby with oral rapid HIV Testing available to veterans. December 1, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. 2002 Holcombe Blvd. • houston.va.gov • 713/791-1411.
Houston Area Community Services offers HIV testing at its facility. December 1, 9 a.m.–8 p.m. 2150 W. 18th St. • hacstxs.org • 713/426-0027.
Transgender Foundation of America provides HIV testing. December 1, 1–5 p.m. Transgender Center, 604 Pacific St. • tgcenter.org.
Testing at the New Legacy Montrose Clinic
Currently more than one million Americans are living with HIV; approximately one fifth of them are unaware of their infection. In other words, as many as 200,000 Americans don’t know they are HIV positive or are posing an increasingly high risk for onward transmission to others. Doing its part to reduce those horrifying statistics, and to mark World AIDS Day 2011, Legacy Community Health Services is offering free HIV testing at their Montrose location, using the rapid HIV antibody test, with results available in around 20 minutes. Health Educators are available to answer questions about risk factors for HIV and how to protect yourself and others, with referrals to services and counseling also available for anyone who tests positive for HIV. December 1. 9 a.m.–6:30 p.m. 1415 California St.
Legacy Testing Outreach
Legacy also provides testing on a weekly basis at the following locations, offering the same free confidential rapid HIV testing. Mondays: Legacy Community Health Services-Lyons Clinic, 5602 Lyons Avenue, 9am–1pm and 2–5pm; EJ’s, 2517 Ralph, 9pm–12am; George Sports Bar, 617 Fairview, 6–10pm. Tuesdays: 611 Hyde Park Pub, 611 Hyde Park, 5–9pm; Club Houston, 2205 Fannin, 8pm–12am. Wednesdays: Midtowne Spa, 3100 Fannin, 4–8pm; Legacy Community Health Services-Lyons Avenue Clinic, 5602 Lyons, 9am–1pm and 2–5pm; Club Houston, 2205 Fannin, 8pm–12am; EJ’s, 2517 Ralph, 10pm–1am. Thursdays: Midtowne Spa, 3100 Fannin, 3–7pm; Ripcord, 715 Fairview, 8–11pm; Guava Lamp, 570 Waugh Drive, 6–10pm; Brazos River Bottom, 2400 Brazos, 8–11pm. Fridays: Legacy Community Health Services-Lyons Ave Clinic, 5602 Lyons, 9am–1pm and 2–5pm; EJ’s, 2517 Ralph, 10pm–1am. HIV testing is also offered at Legacy Community Health Services-Legacy Montrose Clinic, 1415 California Street, Monday–Thursday 11am–7pm, and Friday, 11am–5pm. legacycommunityhealth.org • 713/830-3000.