Local Communities Raise Awareness For AIDS

Bringing the community together for strength.

Morrison Jones-Thiede, Reporter/Page Editor

December 1st is World AIDS day, and to help bring awareness to AIDS and STDs, Eastern Idaho Public Health is joining up with Breaking Boundaries to offer a rapid testing for  HIV and STDs such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. They are going to be doing the free testing at the Health Center here in town Dec. 17th from 9a.m. to 5p.m., Dec. 18th from 9a.m. to 3p.m. and Dec. 19th from 8a.m. to 12p.m.

  There’s also testing in April for National STD Awareness Month and June for National HIV Testing Day on June 27. “It is recommended that everyone gets tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime, more frequently if recommended by a healthcare provider,” Eastern Idaho Public Health Nurse Manager Nikki Sayer told East Idaho News. “Detecting HIV, like other diseases, can lead to better health outcomes if found early.”

The Idaho Falls AIDS Memorial Quilt piece was showcased to the public for free at The Elks Lodge. Breaking Boundaries hosted a fundraising dinner, honoring those who passed from AIDS. Our very own Alison Noble donated two original pieces of artwork, saying “Art makes it possible to listen to and recognize the connection of humanity and people’s stories” she added “The quilt was made as a memorial to those who passed away from AIDS and help reduce the stigma that surrounds AIDS. When I was growing up, people with AIDS were ostracized and thought of as being with a certain group, and it was really hard for them to receive care. And that’s the thing, is that people didn’t understand that it can affect anyone and so people didn’t want to try and understand with has completely changed now. The AIDS quilt is actually a very large piece, the world’s largest installation or art piece, the worlds largest. And we get a portion of that each year Eastern Idaho has the largest grouping of panels west of the Rockies” 

So what actually is a quilt?  “In the concept of a patchwork quilt, when they’re all bound together (the patches or large pieces of fabric) it brings unity that it’s all part of a bigger epidemic,” said Eastern Idaho Public Health Spokeswoman Mimi Taylor said to East Idaho News. The quilt was at The Elks Lodge on December 3rd and 4th and December 5th, the Black Tie Dinner, which was sold out well over 22 days in advance, was a wonderful success and helped to bring the community together in a welcoming and wholesome way.