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U.S. News

Texas: Helping Students Put a Face on AIDS

May 30, 2008

As part of her course's focus on tolerance, a Tarrant County College humanities teacher recently took her students to an AIDS-oriented art exhibit during Fort Worth's "More Life" HIV/AIDS awareness commemoration. Associate professor Linda Quinn's students toured the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, where the exhibit included a documentary by some of Quinn's former students.

Students seemed absorbed in the display of AIDS quilt panels and mosaics. Most popular was a hallway featuring children's drawings and photographs of people living with HIV/AIDS.

"As a foster parent, I see everything from the child's viewpoint," said student Julie Shoenfeld. "You can see the resilience of children in this art. Some are so peaceful. Others show sadness and pain. It puts a new face on it."

One photo showed an HIV-positive woman's sister hugging her for the first time since the diagnosis. "That was an embrace that broke the fear," student Roseann Clark said. "These photos were effective for me. But you can miss it if you don't meditate and put yourself in their place."

The student documentary "Voices" includes interviews with AIDS service agency clients, whose art and poetry installations were featured alongside the video.

"There was a very firm expectation by us that the people we were going to meet would be defined by AIDS," said student Wade Lipham. "We discovered that to be completely not true when we met them. Sure, that's an aspect of their lives, but they don't allow it to be the be-all and end-all. They still pursue their dreams. That really impressed me and some of the other students."

Back to other news for May 2008

Adapted from:
Fort Worth Star Telegram
05.26.2008; Martha Deller

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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