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Taking Action in your Community

World AIDS Day is just around the corner on December 1st and AIDS.gov’s Facing AIDS photo initiative is back.

Last year, hundreds of you involved your communities, universities, faith groups, co-workers, neighbors, peers and others in sharing messages about Facing AIDS.

The Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center was one of the many organizations that hosted a Facing AIDS event in their community.

We spoke with Brian Burton, Program Director for the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center about what they did with Facing AIDS.

Hello, I am Brian Burton with Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center in Lake Charles and Lafayette, Lousiana.

In October of 2009, during the United States Conference on AIDS in San Francisco we participated in AIDS.gov’s

Facing AIDS initiative where we wrote a message on how we are Facing AIDS.

Then we stepped into a photo booth and had our picture taken.

We thought this was such a clever idea, that we decided to replicate it in our annual AIDS Walk on World AIDS Day.

We set up a photo table at the walk’s registration desk and made these signs.

As the walkers and other World AIDS Day participants registered, we asked them to write a statement on how they were Facing AIDS.

We then asked them to hold up their signs as we took their picture.

We used a digital camera to capture their image with their sign and while the walk was underway we processed the photos using a typical photo printer.

Once the photos were printed we framed them in a commemorative photo frame.

The project as well as the entire walk was a huge success.

People were able to take their pictures home and everytime they look at it, it will remind them of how they are Facing AIDS.

I would highly encourage anyone that is thinking about doing a Facing AIDS photo initiative to go for it.

With a little creativity your project could be a great and original concept for your World AIDS Day activities. And here’s how you can set up your own Facing AIDS event.

Step 1, pick a time and a location.

Step 2, Promote! Tell everyone you know about your event. Talk about it online and in person.

Step 3, get your signs and pens ready. You can download the Facing AIDS sign and other materials at www.AIDS.gov/facingaids. And also online you can find materials to show your support for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy or you can create your own.

Step 4, locate a digital camera or mobile phone to take your photos.

Step 5, bring your camera, signs, and pens to your event. Ask people to write messages about why they are Facing AIDS for World AIDS Day and beyond.

Step 6, upload and share your photos to the AIDS.gov Facing AIDS 2010 Flickr group at www.flickr.com/groups/facingaids2010.

You can also share your photos on social network profiles, blogs and other websites.

If we all direct our faces to AIDS, we can help reduce the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS and promote HIV testing year round.