As many as 25% of the estimated 40,000 new HIV infections in the U.S. each year occur in 13- to 21-year-olds. As the AIDS epidemic continues claiming lives in the United States and around the world, the NAMES Project Foundation has created an AIDS Memorial Quilt, a powerful educational tool for use in preventing new HIV infections. In an effort to promote awareness on campus and in the local community, the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown will host a display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt beginning Monday, February 9 through Thursday, February 12 in the Pitt-Johnstown Student Union Cambria Room.
“The AIDS epidemic has been slowly drifting from the consciousness of the American public, as it is viewed as being under control and is primarily a crisis in other countries. In reality, new HIV and AIDS diagnoses are being made in the United States, with an alarming number among college-age and African American women. During Valentine’s Day week when everyone’s minds are on finding that someone special, we wanted to remind students to be responsible and intentional in the choices they make. The quilt is a visual that puts faces to names, and lives to statistics,” said Sherri Rae, Pitt-Johnstown assistant director of student activities and intercultural affairs.
The AIDS Memorial Quilt celebrates the lives of real people who were loved and lost to HIV/AIDS. They are each remembered on a stretch of fabric called a panel. By showing the humanity behind the statistics, The Quilt encourages compassion and inspires personal involvement in combating the AIDS epidemic.
Six panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display daily at Pitt-Johnstown. An opening ceremony will be held at 4:30 p.m. Monday, February 9. The display will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, February 10 and Wednesday, February 11, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, February 12.
Other activities for the week include:
At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Wenche N. Bonini, Conemaugh Hospital coordinator of community care management rural AIDS program, will hold a presentation on “HIV/AIDS 101.” The program, which is being held in the Student Union Cambria Room, is free and open to the public. The Community Care Management’s Mission is to reach out to the HIV/AIDS population and their families to offer hope for the future through support and education.
At 7 p.m. Wednesday, an open Mic Memorial/Poetry Reading will be held. Participants will be able to share experiences or feelings about how HIV/AIDS has touched their lives and the global community. The event is being held in the Student Union Cambria Room and is free and open to the public.
The events are being sponsored by the Pitt-Johnstown Office of Student Affairs, Office of Student Life, Health Services, the Wellness Outreach Committee, Black Action Society, and UPJ Alliance. For additional information, visit http://www.upj.pitt.edu/20178/
Founded in 1927, Pitt-Johnstown is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. A vital knowledge center and a foremost contributor to the area’s educational, social, cultural, and economic development, UPJ offers a first-class educational experience that is purposefully designed to prepare students for the real world of the 21st century.