The city of Madison is looking to garner support for AIDS research and education by holding events leading up to World AIDS Day Dec. 1.
Alex Kendziorski, managing director and one of the founders of African Youth Outreach, said he believes that World AIDS Day would help to educate not only the local community but the entire global community as well.
"I'm hoping that it brings HIV and AIDS back into public consciousness as a global epidemic," Kendziorski said. "Particularly for the university population and the younger population since the general outlook on HIV is that it's a problem that has been taken care of."
The AIDS network is organizing a number of events and fundraisers and will use the funds raised to promote care and prevention services to several counties in southern Wisconsin.
With events such as an AIDS bike ride, bingo, restaurant sponsored events and a charity walk, citizens throughout Madison will be able to contribute to the effort in multiple ways.
Bob Power, executive director of the AIDS Network in south-central Wisconsin, said World AIDS Day will not only remember those who have fallen to the disease, but honor people across the world who are still fighting the battle. He said the event is changing to also honor volunteers in AIDS research.
"After much thought about how to re-energize a decades old event, we thought World AIDS Day would be an ideal time for us to honor the many volunteers who are instrumental in the day-to-day efforts of our agency," Power said in a release.
And Tiffany Thom, marketing director for Madison Magazine, said that by choosing to take part in the AIDS Day fundraiser, Madisonians can not only help out the AIDS network but can also support local restaurants.
"The AIDS network has done wonderful work in the community, and they're constantly looking for research and help for AIDS victims and their family members," Thom said. "And this is one way to support their education and research that directly translates into a citywide effect that brings together the entire city to support this one cause."
According to Thom, Madison Magazine has been a leader in World AIDS Day by providing marketing and also sponsoring the "Extra Helping" event. The event entails restaurants donating portions of their proceeds from sales Nov. 29 to the AIDS Network. Several local restaurants ranging from The Nitty Gritty Restaurant and Bar to L'Etoile, she said, will be participating in the event.
"Just tell them you're there for the Extra Helping and you have dinner like any other time," Thom said. "It's so easy to go out for dinner with friends and help out the AIDS foundation at the same time."
With the support of local restaurants and media, the World AIDS Network hopes to see a large turnout for its events.
Kendziorski said he hopes that by holding these events, citizens throughout Madison will be able to learn a lot about AIDS to further the ongoing research and education throughout the world.
"Get involved, because HIV and AIDS affects everyone's lives one way or another," he said.