Bringing HIV/AIDS awareness to Burlington

HIV/AIDS Awareness Week starts Dec. 1 and will include educational events, a rally and a twilight vigil.

This event is put on by Partners In Health, a Boston based organization whose goal is to provide medical care to individuals in need through relationships with other organizations, according to the Partners In Health website.

The UVM chapter was started by senior Olivia Smith.

“We function under the notion that health care is a human right and should be available to all,” said Dana Benger, Partners in Health treasurer. “Together, we can all make a huge difference in the lives of many.”

Partners In Health is joining with the Student Global AIDS Campaign at Saint Michael’s College to support Vermont Cares in a candlelight vigil Dec. 1.

“The events in world HIV/AIDS week is supporting all people. It is uniting those who do not suffer from the disease, to support in any way possible those who are affected by the disease,” junior Jacqueline Cardoza said. “ [The week] is providing an avenue for students to be engaged in a movement based on seeking justice for all.”

Partners In Health is also collaborating with Saint Michael’s College for a walk on Church Street to talk to pedestrians and share information about HIV/AIDS Dec. 5.

“Our focus as a public health volunteer organization is to inform people that HIV/AIDS is still very prominent domestically and globally,” Smith said.

In 2013, 1.5 million people died from AIDS, according to The Foundation for AIDS Research website.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, nearly 78 million people have contracted HIV and close to 39 million have died of AIDS ­related causes, according to the website.

HIV/AIDS Awareness week will end with the Labor of Love event, which will be held in the Silver Maple Ballroom in the Davis Center 6 p.m. Dec. 6.