Originally created 11/30/02

Event will honor AIDS victims



In observance of World AIDS Day, a special presentation is planned for Sunday in downtown Augusta.

The presentation, A Time of Remembrance, will be at 4 p.m. at the Ninth Street fountain near Riverwalk Augusta. The AIDS Projects Office of the Richmond County Health Department is sponsoring the event, which includes a lighting of luminarias honoring area residents who suffer from or have died from AIDS.

As a show of support, visitors attending the event are asked to wear red ribbons, said Sandra E. Wimberly, the health educator for the projects office.

"It's a way of helping to counter the (AIDS) stigma," Ms. Wimberly said.

Stigmas include the fear of speaking to people who are diagnosed with HIV. Too often, families of victims are too ashamed to recognize a sick family member, she said.

The Rev. Eric Taylor, the pastor of Emanuel Faith Tabernacle, is founder of OASIS: Outreach Aids Support Information Services, an AIDS outreach group assisting with the program.

"This is a way to remember those who are affected by AIDS," said the Rev. Taylor, whose church meets at Westside High School, where he is assistant principal. "Too often, they are treated like lepers of another century, and this lets them know someone is here for you."

Locally, AIDS awareness programs have taken place since 1994, The Rev. Taylor said. Last year, an event was held at Paine College.

"Lack of education and because people don't think it'll happen to them, that's why the virus is very much alive - especially in the African-American population," he said.

"No longer does the white male disease stigma exist. We've got to do something," said the minister.

On Dec. 1, 1988, World AIDS Day was designated by the World Health Organization displaying the solidarity of 140 nations and their goal to eradicate AIDS.

For more information, call Sandra E. Wimberly, the health educator for the Richmond County Health Department AIDS Project office, at 667-4342 or the Rev. Taylor at 868-5369.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: World AIDS Day

WHERE: Riverwalk Augusta at Ninth Street fountain

WHEN: 4 p.m. Sunday

THEME: A Time for Remembrance

Reach Timothy Cox at (706) 823-3217 or tim.cox@augustachronicle.com.



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