World AIDS Day 2011

World AIDS Day for this region will be held on December 1st at the Turner Arts Center on the campus of Centenary College. The event will begin at 6pm, with the theme “A Day Without Art”. This is intended to be a memorial to all people in our region who have succumbed to AIDS over the past 30 years – with an emphasis on trying to imagine life without art (as a result of all the artists in our community who have died from AIDS over the past 3 decades). All the art at the Turner will be draped with black cloth.

There program will include a performance by the Mahogany Ensemble Theatre, under the direction of Angelique Feaster Evans. Additionally, there will be representatives from several communities of faith congregations – including Matt Rawle, Immanuel McIntyre, Rabbi Bennidetti, and others.

Light refreshments will be served as the community comes together to remember our friends, coworkers, and family members who have died. This is also a time of renewed commitment for our community to raise the level of awareness of HIV/AIDS – how it is prevented – and a new determination to end this epidemic.

In NWLA alone, we have lost (as of September 30, 2011) 944 people to AIDS over the years. Also at the end of September 2011, there were a total of 1,477

Sadly – it is becoming more difficult to provide testing and outreach and prevention services, as funding has been reduced to ZERO pure state dollars in the past year. All funds are now from the federal level (passed through the state and to regional HIV/AIDS Resource Centers) and from local donors. Ironically – as HIV rates INCREASE in our state and in our region ( people currently living with HIV/AIDS in the Shreveport region.

104 NEW cases

in just the 1st 9 months of 2011), funding continues to decrease. Out of the 104 new cases of HIV identified in 2011, 33% were within the 13-24 year old age range. Also – in NWLW, 85% of new HIV cases were among African-Americans.  For more details, listen to Newsradio 710 KEEL.