The month of December is associated with the color red for several reasons. One reason is the holiday season; another reason is the celebration of World Aids Day.
Every year World AIDS Day takes place on Dec. 1. The main goal of World Aids Day is to serve as a major platform that brings awareness to the AIDS pandemic via education and testing. Each year Compass in Lake Worth holds various programs in honor of the day.
The highlight of the WAD festivities is the Aids Quilt.
"The quilt is always a big hit," said Ernie Gonzalez who serves as Operations director for Compass. "Each year we have a theme for the quilt, last year we honored different artists like Keith Haring, we've also honored famous African Americans as well as musicians that have passed away from AIDS.”
This year the theme is the past, present and the future. To date, the quilt is made up of 48,000 panels and several biographies from those we have lost to the virus. Compass is the largest displayer of the quilt in the Southeast. The quilt is also the largest piece of folk art in the world. Along with the quilt, community members also participate in a candlelight vigil, induction, and a moving performance by popular gay men’s chorus Voices of Pride.
Although WAD is for one day, Compass showcases the quilt for an entire two weeks, along with a variety of other programs like HIV Testing Monday and Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
On Wednesday Dec. 6, Youth that are up to age 18 will participate in a HIV round table that will cover prevention methods, and their roles in the fight of HIV. SFGN's winner for Best Social Group "Entourage" will host a healthy discussion on relationships, PrEP, maintaining a negative HIV status, and what it means to be undetectable.
Lorenzo Robertson who is the HIV Prevention Director for compass will be the special guest speaker during the “Journey through HIV & Activism for a Black Man” seminar that will take place on Saturday Dec. 2.
Over 35 million people worldwide are living day to day with the disease. There are about 8,197 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Palm Beach County.
"It’s a moment to remember these wonderful souls who were a part of something bigger that they have ever realized,” Robertson said. "For me personally, I always say that I want to one day not work in this field, I want to one day not be needed.”
For more information on Worlds AIDS Day at Compass visit Compassglcc.com/world-aids-day.