diciembre 5, 2018
World AIDS Day Celebration: Honoring our Patients and Staff
On December 3, 2018, MNHC’s Clinica Esperanza celebrated World AIDS Day, with a gathering at Terra Gallery in San Francisco’s SOMA district. World AIDS Day, designated as December 1, was established in 1988 as an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease.
The event was organized to honor the many patients, employees and community members who support Clinica Esperanza, MNHCs HIV/AIDS clinic. The gathering each year is designed to display masks and paintings created by patients, family members, partner organizations, and staff in a weekly workshop every autumn in preparation of the celebration of World AIDS day.
Participants make a cast of their face and then decorate it to reflect their emotions and the impact of HIV in their lives and community. Many of the participants save up materials all year round to use on their mask. Some clients even sell their masks. Each well-crafted mask contains a note written by its creator speaking to their pain, sorrow, triumph, and/or joy.
These workshops give our clients an opportunity to express their artistic side and gain recognition,” said Alison Wakefield, MNHC’s new HIV Services Director. “Our goal is to offer a way for our patients to socialize with others who have HIV in a safe environment, and it’s very gratifying to see the pride they exhibit in their work.”
Alison joined MNHC in September 2018 after previously serving as manager of HIV programs at Tri-City Health Center in Fremont, CA. Prior to that she worked at Planned Parenthood, ETR Associates, Essential Access Health and as a lecturer at San Jose State University, where she received her MPH degree.
Clínica Esperanza celebrates with pride its many years of compassionate and holistic service and success in helping patients manage HIV and in creating a community of support. A nascent idea in 1970, today the clinic serves nearly 500 patients, mostly Latino men, many of whom are monolingual in Spanish. All services are available in Spanish and English. Services include primary medical care, case management, behavioral health, HIV testing, HIV prevention, nutrition services, support services, and activities such as the mask making workshop and a stress reduction knitting group.
“I care a lot about the HIV/AIDs community. It’s more than just a job for me,” said Alison. “I grew up in the ‘80s in the Bay Area and realized that social justice is a part of who I am. It’s important to me to do good work and effect change.”
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