World AIDS Day in Texas

What a weekend!!! We welcomed in the cool-ish month of December in Texas by commemorating World AIDS Day through a number of events on Friday and Saturday.

David Barstow, founder and president of EMPACT Africa, and ONE Austin collaborated together to create the “What Would You Do?” activity for the Austin World AIDS Day Event on November 30, 2012. The event asked participants to imagine themselves in a particular social story in which they had to decide whether to get tested or not.

David and Linda Barstow, EMPACT Africa

“Fifteen years ago, Jonathan Mann, head of the W.H.O.’s AIDS division, said that AIDS is a social issue with medical aspects.  We’ve seen great progress on the medical aspects, and now we’re finally putting increased emphasis on the social issues.” stated David in light of the amazing breakthroughs that have occurred medically and the amazing breakthroughs that will hopefully happen socially– particularly in overcoming the stigma associated with AIDS.

And that’s not all!

On World AIDS Day, December 1, 2012, we participated in the first annual “A Night for HIV/AIDS” fundraiser and official RED RIBBON SOCIAL EVENT. And we did so in a fun and interactive way: pictures! Over 40 people declared their support for the fight to end HIV/AIDS through simply taking a picture with us!

Paulina Sosa, CDL Austin, Patrick Reetz, ONE member and photographer

It was a packed room at our local venue, House Wine! The event organized a silent auction; sign-up list to buy bags from Trashy Bags (also based in Ghana); and for 10% of all proceeds went toward West African AIDS Foundation in Ghana. Music, wine, food, and great company made for a very good night!

Tim Bailey, Host of the annual Red Ribbon Social Event

It was a privilege to be a part of the many exciting events commemorating World AIDS Day here in Austin. We met new and amazing partners, learned more about community leaders making a difference locally and globally, and most of all talked to people about what the world’s poorest countries are facing and how they could do something about it.

Many did not know that virtually no child could be born with HIV by 2015– if the United States continues funding programs like PEPFAR and the Global Fund. I am happy to say that not only did we get a great glass of wine and good conversation opportunities out of the events this weekend, but so many people are now a part of this fight to see a day where no child will be born with HIV by 2015!