Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World AIDS Day and all that follows

Buenos días and welcome to December! Aside from the well-known religious holidays of Christmas and Chanukkah and the cultural celebration of Kwanzaa, December is full of many other note-worthy celebrations. Throughout this month I will be exploring the important days that fall on the calendars of many different cultures around the world and, when possible, talk about how they will be celebrated here in Lexington.

Today, our thoughts turn to World AIDS Day. In 1988 the World Health Organization established the first World AIDS Day celebration in recognition of the need for education and awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemic that affects every region of the world. Today the World AIDS Campaign is the leading organizer of the international event. This year's theme is Universal Access and Human Rights. Organizers and partner agencies of the event strongly believe that access for all to HIV prevention treatment care and support is a critical part of human rights.

If you pay attention to the news at all, you know that HIV/AIDS is a global epidemic. As the following map with the latest numbers from the WHO and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS shows, 33.4 million people worldwide are living with HIV.

Locally, AIDS Volunteers of Lexington (AVOL) is doing it's part to make sure fewer people in Central Kentucky become a statistic. If you want to show your support for AVOL's work, raise awareness about the global epidemic or pay tribute to a friend or family member affected by the disease you can take part in a community Candlelight Vigil this evening starting at 5:30pm. Participants can pick up candles at Third Street Stuff, Starbucks (Main St.), Tin Roof, Common Grounds, and Dunkin' Donuts (Main and Rose) and march together to Phoenix Park. On Saturday, you can give to a good cause and have a great time at AVOL's annual Red Ribbon Ball .

Lexington Public Library will be paying tribute to World AIDS Day by displaying panels from the AIDS Quilt all week. If you need refuge from the cold during the vigil or just want to admire a piece of the worlds largest ongoing community arts project in the world, stop in the Central Library to see the quilts hanging from the 3rd floor and in the 2nd floor atrium.

For more information about World AIDS Day celebrations or to download promotional materials visit http://www.aids.gov/ , http://www.worldaidsday.org/ or http://www.worldaidscampaign.org/

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