HIV/AIDS library exhibits highlight local stories

November 30, 2010

"Beneath the Empty Shoes: Voices from the Path of HIV/AIDS" is a multimedia exhibit featuring the stories of local residents whose lives have been affected by AIDS and HIV. The exhibit, created by the Southern Colorado AIDS Project and Pine Creek High School’s Eyes Wide Open program, will be on display at East and Penrose libraries during December in honor of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.

Pine Creek High School history teacher Heidi Rickard started the documentary film series Eyes Wide Open as a way to raise awareness about local and global issues.

“HIV and AIDS are definitely a problem here in our city and in this state, but we’ve kind of quit talking about it in our community,” Rickard said. “What was the point of all that loss we experienced in the ’80s and early ’90s if we quit talking about it?”

Rickard said the name of the exhibit is taken from the idea that everyone has a path that they’ve walked, but sometimes we choose to ignore stories from certain paths.

“The idea is to take a walk in someone else’s shoes and see what that path looks like,” she said.

Rickard hopes to raise enough awareness through the project to reduce infection rates. There were 56,000 new infections last year in the U.S. alone.

“But our goal isn’t just to raise awareness about people living with HIV. It’s about how our community can be of assistance in making a difference and erasing stigma,” she said.

The Southern Colorado AIDS Project will host an opening reception for the exhibit 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 in the Community Room at East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd. A brief program at 5 p.m. will highlight the importance of open discussion on the local impact of HIV/AIDS.

Three Pine Creek High School students have put in a lot of time and effort into their DECA project, which focuses on AIDS. They set up the library exhibits, including one at their school. Read their story here.

S-CAP is holding a World AIDS Day ceremony at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1 in the Pine Creek auditorium.

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