An exhibit of panels from the National AIDS Quilt and a keynote address by a local HIV/AIDS expert will be part of the events leading up to World AIDS Day.
Selected panels from the National AIDS Quilt will be displayed from Monday, November 28 through Thursday, December 1, in the Brown Ballroom of the Bone Student Center at Illinois State University. The 12-foot by 12-foot panels contain handmade quilts that memorialize people lost in the fight against AIDS. The panels will include quilts of local people lost to AIDS as well as quilts created by local HIV/AIDS organizations.
The week of commemoration continues on World AIDS Day with a keynote address by Chris Wade at 7 p.m. Thursday, December 1, in the Brown Ballroom. Wade is the HIV project coordinator at the Illinois Public Health Association; director of prevention services for Central Illinois Friends of People With AIDS; and co-chair of the Illinois Alliance for Sound AIDS Policy ( ILASAP ). In 1992 Wade was diagnosed as HIV positive and since that time he has worked tirelessly in the fields of mental health, sexual and reproductive health, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning ( LGBTQ ) health-related issues among all demographics, but with emphasis on communities of color.
Wade's keynote address and the exhibit of quilt panels are part of the local effort to remember those lost to HIV/AIDS and to share information on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.
"It is no accident that we chose a public university for our World AIDS Day activities," said Dave Bentlin, president of the Prairie Pride Coalition. "Despite advances in treatment and prevention, today's youth from the millennial generation and Generation Z are experiencing higher incidences of HIV infection. We want to make sure we enhance their education and awareness so they can make wise, safe decisions."
The week's events are co-sponsored by the Prairie Pride Coalition; ISU Pride; the Central Illinois Pride Health Center; Planned Parenthood of Illinois; and ISU Student Health Services. Panels from the AIDS quilt were secured with a grant from the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation.