In recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Month, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) partnered with the Center for Civil and Human Rights (CCHR) to unveil “Atlanta’s HIV+ Population Now” art sculpture yesterday. The unveiling of this very powerful artistic presentation was preceded by a short luncheon update for the media on the status of HIV in our community and the work of AID Atlanta, one of the oldest and largest HIV/AIDS service organizations in the south-east, in addressing the current crisis.
Created through support from the AHF Grant Fund, “Atlanta’s HIV+ Population Now”, an 8-foot arts installation, designed by local Atlanta artist Matthew Terrell, shows audiences the ever-growing problem of new HIV diagnoses in the Atlanta metro area. Taking inspiration from the iconic “Atlanta’s Population Now” sign located on Peachtree Street, which has charted our city’s growth since 1965, the “Atlanta’s HIV+ Population Now” sign uses data from the CDC (which has been compiled by the AIDSvu Map project at Emory University) to show how many people are diagnosed every day with HIV in the Atlanta Metro Area.
The piece, which takes the form of a pyramidal sign, simple text, and interchangeable marquee-style digits, will stay on display in the lower, external courtyard area of CCHR through June 27th, National HIV/AIDS Testing Day. To further exemplify the impact of the HIV epidemic in the Atlanta community, and to encourage public engagement, every Friday at 12 noon, the artist will update the numbers in the marquee and will be on hand to discuss HIV with visitors, and to talk about the meaning of the project.
Recent statistics by AIDSvu show that, nationally, the downtown Atlanta corridor has one of the highest rates of people living with an HIV diagnosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also reported that the HIV prevalence rate among people living in urban poverty areas is very high (2.1%) and exceeds the 1% cut-off that defines a generalized HIV epidemic.
“As AHF continues to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in communities across the nation, we have found the arts to be a powerful tool for breaking down the barriers of stigma and judgment, providing awareness and encouraging powerful and transformative dialogue on how diverse communities can work to combat this major public health issue,” shared Imara Canady, AHF Southern Bureau Regional Director for Communications and Community Engagement. “Through this artistic expression, we hope to both continue the awareness of the impact of the HIV epidemic in Atlanta and to work with the Center for Civil and Human Rights team, to create thought-provoking public discourse on how this community can address this epidemic.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 694,000 individuals in 35 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare