Mason Commemorates World AIDS Day

Posted: November 13, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Ferraro

Although 95 percent of people with HIV/AIDS live in developing nations, HIV is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world.

According to UNAIDS, the joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, there are 39.5 million people living with HIV, including 2.3 million children. Last year approximately 4.3 million people became newly infected with the virus.

World AIDS Day, established on Dec. 1, 1988, aims to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education. This year’s theme of leadership highlights the need for innovation, vision and perseverance in the face of the AIDS challenge. All sectors of society — families, communities and civil society organizations — are called upon to take the initiative and provide leadership on AIDS.

To commemorate World AIDS Day, the Department of Global and Community Health, the Center for Global Studies and University Life will host Collins Airhihenbuwa of Pennsylvania State University, who will present “Healing Our Differences: HIV/AIDS and the Politics of Identity.” The presentation will take place on Monday, Dec. 3, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. in the Johnson Center Cinema on the Fairfax Campus.

Airhihenbuwa’s presentation will address the importance of locating an identity at the center of public health interventions, particularly in the context of a disease like HIV/AIDS. He will discuss ways to begin celebrating our various identities and promote multiple truths rather than a universal truth that ignores difference.

Airhihenbuwa is professor and head of the Department of Biobehavioral Health at Pennsylvania State University and director of the Alliance for Earth Sciences, Engineering and Development in Africa (AESEDA) Center for Global Health and Georesources Management. His areas of expertise include the role of culture in the health and behavior of African Americans and Africans.

Immediately following the presentation, the Mason Bookstore will host a book signing of Airhihenbuwa’s newly published book, “Healing our Differences: The Crisis of Global Health and the Politics of Identity.”

The event is free and open to all faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community. Those who wish to attend are asked to RSVP to Allan Weiss at as seating is limited. For more information about the presentation, click here.

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