MCC takes part in World AIDS Day events

Students and faculty member Nancy Harrington (third from right) read names of people who’ve died from AIDS at a World AIDS Day ceremony Nov. 30 at MCC-Penn Valley.

The week of World AIDS Day 2018 showcased global solidarity for those who are living with or have died from the disease. Metropolitan Community College’s Penn Valley campus held a World AIDS Day ceremony Nov. 30, in which students joined faculty member Nancy Harrington in reading names of Kansas Citians who’ve died from the disease, as well as celebrities such as Freddie Mercury, Rock Hudson and Arthur Ashe.

Harrington, the science, math and engineering chair at Penn Valley, organizes the event, which this year included a two-man band playing music as names were announced.

A Metropolitan Community College contingent of students and employees also attended the World AIDS Day Luncheon and Community Conversation on HIV Nov. 28 at Plexpod Westport Commons.

MCC attendees at the AIDS luncheon were (seated, from left) Shelby Coxon, Julianne Jacques, Nancy Harrington, Lucas Alaback and (standing) Miguel Luis Ceballos and Michaele Bradley.

The event featured remarks by Bruce Richman, executive director of the Prevention Access Campaign. Richman has fought to share evidence that proves people living with HIV whose viral loads are reduced to an undetectable level cannot transmit HIV.  “Richman’s campaign is changing public perceptions about HIV, while encouraging more people to be tested and to get treatment,” says Harrington, who attended the luncheon.

Bruce Richman speaks at the World AIDS Day luncheon in Kansas City.

The College has also been a longtime participant in AIDS Walk Kansas City, held each spring. This activity, too, is led by Harrington. She has been team captain since 2005. Sign-ups for the walk, which will be Saturday, April 27,  will begin in the next few months. Monitor aidswalkkansascity.org for updates.

This was the 31st year of World AIDS Day remembrances. The first cases of the disease were diagnosed in 1981. More than 37 million people worldwide are living with AIDS, but despite advancements in medicine more than 1 million people still die from AIDS each year.