UC Merced Hosts World AIDS Day Event Dec. 1

MERCED - The UC Merced Office of Student Life will host a World AIDS Day event on Friday, Dec. 1, from 6 - 9 p.m. in the Yablokoff-Wallace Dining Commons on the UC Merced campus.

"We're thrilled that the event is taking place at UC Merced," said Louise Tilston of the Merced County Department of Public Health, who has served on the organizing committee for the event. "This helps expand the reach of World AIDS Day beyond the walls of agencies."

Other organizations collaborating to sponsor the event with the Office of Student Life and the Health Department are the Merced AIDS Support Team; Planned Parenthood; Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; and B.K. Pharmacy.

"The University of California touches the lives of those with HIV/AIDS and their loved ones in a meaningful way by conducting research, by promoting education and awareness, and by offering a safe space for community discussion," said UC Merced Capital Planning Director and Staff Assembly President John O. White, who will be a featured speaker at the event. "We at UC Merced are proud to offer space and lend support to those individuals and these organizations still fighting the battle. It is a long- term commitment on our part."

The event will also feature other speakers, slide shows, poetry readings, entertainment by organizations like the Buhach String and Drum Corps and the Merced Marauders, and a candlelight vigil.

Basic refreshments will also be provided, and a raffle will take place with tickets costing $1 each. Proceeds will go to pay for this year's event and possibly next year's, as well. Raffle prizes have been donated by local businesses.

World AIDS Day, December 1, is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS. At the local level you can help stop the spread of HIV and end prejudice by taking action. In 2006 there were 39.5 million people living with HIV; 4.3 million new infections; and 2 .9 million AIDS-related deaths.

The public will be welcome to attend the event at UC Merced. It's also possible to get involved in the community by volunteering time or making contributions to local government and local not-for- profits, including the above-listed organizations participating in the World AIDS Day Ceremony at UC Merced.

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