The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Spectrum Invites Participation in Local Observance of World AIDS Day

Students involved in Spectrum, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Heterosexual Alliance, invite your participation in a local event to observe the 16th World AIDS Day on Monday, December 1 at 6 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 305 W. 7th Street.

According to Spectrum member Nicole Bellenfant, representatives from the offices of U.S. Senators Bill Frist and Lamar Alexander will be presenting a global perspective of HIV/AIDS. Frist and Alexander were among a senate delegation to Africa, where one of every five adults has HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. A client from Chattanooga Cares, a local organization providing education, prevention, and support for all people affected by HIV, will present a local perspective of the epidemic. A choral group from the Center for Creative Arts will perform selections from RENT, and a candlelight memorial will conclude the evening.

“Spectrum is involved with this event because HIV/AIDS is an issue that heavily affects the college age group,” Bellenfant said. “We also want to fight the stigma and discrimination that so many people who have HIV suffer from.”

World AIDS Day gives everyone an opportunity to remember and to honor all the persons affected by HIV and AIDS in the Chattanooga area. In recent years, there has been a dramatic decline in the number of deaths; however, those that have HIV are often confronted by hunger, a loss of medical care, and other serious issues.

According to a United Nations report, 40 million people worldwide are living with HIV. Included in that number is 2.5 million children under the age of 15. According to statistics published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States 900,000—1 million people are infected, and up to one –third may be unaware that they have HIV.