Photo Exhibit and Panel Discussion Planned for World AIDS Day
View a Flickr slideshow of the exhibit images (some images may not be suitable for all viewing audiences)
MADISON - The photographs of eight HIV-positive Wisconsinites who were challenged to express their emotions and document how it feels to live with their diagnoses have been chosen for an exhibit marking World AIDS Day in Madison.
The powerful photographs - conveying isolation, hope, community, anger, growth, loss and more - will be on display at the Overture Center for the Arts in Madison from Nov. 12 to Dec. 12.
"Living with HIV/AIDS: Perspectives Through the Lens" is sponsored by UW Health's HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Care Program and supported in part by the Overture Center's Community Arts Access program.
A separate panel discussion, "Hidden in Plain Sight: The U.S. HIV/AIDS Epidemic," featuring three national HIV/AIDS leaders, will take place Dec. 2 at 6pm in the Overture Center.
Heidi Nass, a patient advocate in the UW Health program and a national HIV/AIDS activist and educator, developed the photography exhibit concept.
"This is a creative way to increase awareness of the ongoing epidemic," she said. "As a person living with HIV, I hope to reduce the ignorance, silence and denial about HIV/AIDS in our community."
After the photo contest was announced last summer, eight applicants were chosen to work with three local professional photographers - John Maniaci, David Nevala and Kevin Miyazaki - to develop their ideas.
"It was an opportunity for people to learn about photography and use the medium to tell their stories," Nass says.
Applicants, who were not judged solely on their technical skills, have written narratives for each image. For the panel discussion, to be held on the Rotunda Stage of the Overture Center, Nass has asked people she's worked with on national and international HIV/AIDS projects to discuss aspects of the domestic epidemic.
Dr. Carlos del Rio is based at Emory University School of Medicine, where, among other things, he is a co-director at the Center for AIDS Research. A former executive director of the National AIDS Council of Mexico, he is a member of the board of the International AIDS Society USA.
Dr. Victoria Cargill is director of clinical studies, as well as minority research, in the NIH Office of AIDS Research. At Case Western Reserve University, she founded and served as executive director of Stopping AIDS is My Mission, which provides AIDS education for adolescents and young adults of color.
David Munar is vice president for policy and communications at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. He has served in leadership positions at the Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative, the National Association of People with AIDS and the AIDS Action Council. He has also served on several federal advisory committees.
The panelists will explore three questions: Why have we never really made a dent in the HIV infection rate? Why is the HIV infection rate in some U.S. communities as high as it is in some areas of Africa? Why do so many people have HIV infection for so long before being diagnosed?
The overall goal of the two World AIDS Day events, says Nass, is to give attendees a deeper appreciation of the challenges of the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and the lives of people living with the virus.
"Most people don't realize it, but HIV/AIDS remains an enormous public health problem in our country," she says.
Date Published: 11/15/2010