Boston University News Release

30th November, 2005

Boston Medical Center to Observe World Aids Day 2005

(Boston) – To honor those affected by HIV/AIDS, the Center for HIV/AIDS Care and Research (CHACR) at Boston Medical Center (BMC) is inviting family, friends and community members to attend this year’s World AIDS Day event on Thursday Dec. 1, and experience a coming together of a variety of individuals and groups who share a commitment to fighting the AIDS epidemic.

The free event, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Menino Pavilion, will feature numerous inspirational testimonies from patients living with AIDS/HIV; a keynote address delivered by Dawn Breedon, motivational speaker and AIDS/HIV activist; and an informational health fair and free rapid-HIV testing.

“World AIDS Day is an opportunity to heighten awareness and inspire action in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Paul Skolnik, MD, director of the CHACR, Chief of the Section of Infectious Diseases at BMC and professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. “While this event provides a means for remembrance and healing, it also increases a deeper understanding of this widespread epidemic.”

An added feature to this year’s event is the public display of The AIDS PhotoMosaic by Face-to-Face Malawi, a multifaceted project that focuses on the culture, society and the fight against HIV in Africa. The stunning artwork contains 48 black-and-white portraits of HIV-infected or affected teachers, students, family members and friends, and depicts how AIDS engulfs whole communities.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt will also be on display. A visual reminder of the AIDS pandemic, the quilt has come to symbolize and commemorate millions of lives lost to HIV.
This year’s theme, Women, Girls, HIV and AIDS, seeks to address the way the inequality of women helps fuel the transmission of HIV and AIDS. Globally, young women and girls are more prone to acquire HIV than men and boys, with studies showing they are 2.5 times more likely to be HIV-infected as their male counterparts. According to Skolnik, female vulnerability is primarily due to inadequate knowledge about AIDS, insufficient access to HIV prevention services, and an inability to negotiate safer sex.

Supporters of this event include the Boston Public Health Commission and BMC’s Consumer Advisory Board.

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