Nov 302004
Authors: Erin Tracy

Today, people around the world are celebrating the progress that has been made against AIDS and are focusing on the hurdles that remain in the fight against the epidemic.

CSU is joining in World AIDS Day with many activities to recognize the toll AIDS has taken.

Christiano Sossa, executive director of Northern Colorado Aids Project, said the CSU campus is having "A Day Without Art" in which the Curfman Gallery will cover all art pieces with a black cloth and wrap it with a red ribbon.

"(It represents) the incredible toll that HIV has taken on the artist communities," Sossa said.

The Association for Student Activity Programming is also sponsoring an art-related activity for World AIDS Day called "Wrap the Newt."

Whitney Carlson, executive director of ASAP, said between noon and 2 p.m. today, anyone walking by the Isaac Newton statue, located outside the Yates Building, will be encouraged to write any thoughts on a piece of paper and pin it to the statue in an attempt to completely cover or wrap the entire statue.

"We are hiding the Isaac Newton sculpture as a way to produce awareness for 'A Day Without Art,'" Carlson said.

A vigil for World AIDS Day will also be held tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Sutherland Garden near the west entrance of the Lory Student Center. The vigil will have music from a women's chorus, a showing of the film "Hidden Crisis: Women and AIDS in America," a speech by a woman who is raising an HIV-positive child, candle lighting and reading the names of people who have died from the AIDS virus.

CSU has hosted a World AIDS Day vigil in the past, but because of decreased awareness, participation has declined, Sossa said.

He said he expects more people to attend this year, because of the help he has received from students in professor Cindy Griffin's Rhetoric and Civility class. The students in the class did a project to raise awareness about AIDS.

"They have done a dynamic job with promotion," Sossa said.

The students in Rhetoric and Civility will be passing out red ribbons and flyers on campus and will help with the vigil.

Sam Hendrick, a junior speech communications major in Griffin's class said through the work they have done for World AIDS Day, he has realized the importance of educating individuals on the seriousness of AIDS.

"It is the leading cause of death right now," Hendrick said.

Released in November, "AIDS Epidemic Update 2004" from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS estimated about 39.4 million people are living with AIDS, about 4.9 million people were newly infected in 2004 and 31 million died.

The number of people who contract AIDS continues to grow each year, but awareness and knowledge could help slow down the number of AIDS patients, Sossa said.

"(World AIDS Day) is about awareness and remembering the people that have gone before us and passed away from the virus," Sossa said.

He also said he hopes today will make people realize that AIDS effects people in the Fort Collins area.

"People don't think that it affects their community and that is not the truth," Sossa said. "As of December 2003, 504 people were infected or living with HIV (in Fort Collins), however, 30 percent of the people that are infected don't know that they are."

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