World AIDS Day is held on December 1 each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV/AIDS, and to commemorate those who have died. Established in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first-ever global health awareness day. The entire week of World AIDS Day events was generously sponsored by Highmark Blue Shield.
Tuesday, December 1 @ State Capitol Steps – World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil
Featured live and written testimony from those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
Wednesday, December 2 from 9:00 am – 8:00 pm – All-Day HIV/STD testing at Alder Health Services, 100 N. Cameron Street, Harrisburg
“Pearls and Bowties” World AIDS Day Evening Social – Thursday, December 3 @ Stage on Herr, Midtown Harrisburg (approximate attendance – 80)
This event was collaborative effort co-sponsored by Gaudenzia New Options, the LGBT Center of Central PA, and Alder Health Services. A fun-filled evening of great food and wonderful performances by spoken word artists and musical vocalists was had by all at one of Midtown Harrisburg’s favorite destinations. Mistress of Ceremonies Khianna Palmer kept the energy high as she introduced these local performers who used their diverse talents to raise awareness about the importance of getting tested, overcoming stigma and speaking openly about the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, particularly in communities of color. State Representative Patty Kim gave an overview of the importance of World AIDS Day and read a proclamation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Guests also had the opportunity to view the LGBT History Project Archives, generously on loan from its permanent home at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA.
Despite These Marks – Friday, December 4 @ Ephrata Main Theatre, Ephrata, PA (approximate attendance – 100)
Written by Nicole Weerbrouck, Josh Dorsheimer and Hal Matroni, while students at Millersville University, Despite These Marks began life as a short devised play and was performed at the 2012-2013 Region II Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Festival judges and audience members alike praised the short play. NYC actor/director Nick Dalton referred to the piece as “The new voice of AIDS”. This project seeks to explore the often-neglected normalcy of persons living with HIV and to expose the hardships they struggle with on a day-to-day basis, both from the disease and from the discrimination faced through the stigmas of HIV. It continues to be expanded, using real interviews with HIV Positive individuals, their family, friends, and HIV activists as the basis for the script. A pre-performance reception was hosted by the Community Arts Foundation of Ephrata (CAFÉ). A portion of the proceeds from tickets sold for the performance will be donated to Alder Health Services.