In honor of World AIDS Day, which is nationally and officially Dec. 1, UR will explore some of the most serious and important issues related to the AIDS epidemic through a series of events. In 1988, the United Nations World Health Organization created World AIDS Day. The hopes is that this day will raise awareness of this global epidemic.

UR’s Hartnett Gallery will continue its 30th anniversary exhibition season with “Vision = Life: AIDS Posters” from the Edward C. Atwater Collection. This will be the third show of the Hartnett’s anniversary exhibition, and it looks to provide a space in which some of the most serious issues and challenges of the AIDS epidemic can be addressed. The exhibit reflects how our perceptions of AIDS have changed over the years and shows the different attitudes toward sex and serious disease in over 29 countries. A Western New York native, Atwater practiced medicine and taught at the UR School of Medicine and Dentistry for 37 years. With some of his posters already on display in UR’s libraries, his posters from the AIDS exhibit will soon accompany his current showcased work.

On Wednesday night, Hartnett featured Atwater and AA Bronson in an exhibition reception. Bronson is a founding member of General Idea. This is an artists’ collaborative which focused on AIDS-related projects for seven years. This marked the opening of the Hartnett exhibition. As part of the gallery’s Visualizing the Humanities, Hartnett has joined with groups from the UR Medical Center, the College and the greater Rochester community with the hopes of raising HIV/AIDS awareness. Among groups participating are HIV Vaccine Trials Unit at Strong Memorial Hospital, the River Campus Health Promotion Office, Global AIDS Interest Network, Action for a Better Community Action Front Center, PeaceArt International and AIDS Rochester Inc.

“Because people in North America have been able to forget about this issue since it does not effect us directly, I think events like these are so important as they remind us of how prevalent this epidemic is in the world,” Bronson said after a lecture on Wednesday night. He discussed his seven-year work of General Idea on AIDS-related projects as well as his work alone since the deaths of a number of his collaborators. “Asia and Africa are especially bad with some countries having 30-40 percent infected. The number of orphans because of this is astonishing and events such as those this weekend bring these issues back to our attention.”

AIDS Day events will continue through the week and into the weekend beginning with the panel discussion “Let’s Talk about HIV” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30 in the Gowen Room. Among the featured panelists are Dr. Michael Keefer and Dr. Sharon Glezen. Keefer is the principal investigator of the HIV Vaccine Trials unit at URMC and Glezen is an employee at University Health Services. On Friday, Dec. 1, AIDS Rochester and ABC will provide free HIV testing from noon to 2:30 on the Wilson Quadrangle.

“Hope for All the Children,” a PeaceArt International benefit for orphans at the CHES Ashram in Chennai, India, will feature children dances as well as musicians from Rochester’s Indian community, the Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus, Rochester Women’s Community Chorus, Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf Dance Company and a number of other groups. The event will take place on Friday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the First Universalist Church.

The weekend will conclude with UR’s Symphony Orchestra in Strong Auditorium on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. The URSO will feature music by Smetana and Sibelius and admission is free.

Lewis is a member of the class of 2008.

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