The Legacy Community Health Services headquarters is all lit up this weekend to commemorate World AIDS Day on Sunday. The entire side of the building facing busy Westheimer is illuminated with images of red ribbons, the symbol in the longstanding fight against AIDS, and the words, "Always Remember," from 6 p.m. until midnight.
Since the mysterious illness first began to ravage otherwise healthy young men more than 30 years ago, a lot has been achieved in new treatments that now make it a manageable disease. But officials agree that more education, testing and treatment options are needed as rates of infection rise in various segments of the population.
Bright Star Productions lighting designer Gary Archer came up with the installation after talking with Legacy senior director of development Tim Martinez about doing something striking on the side of the building for World AIDS Day. Legacy executive director Kathy Caldwell suggested projecting a red ribbon and Archer expanded the idea.
"I thought it should be multiple ribbons all the way across, some larger, some smaller, different shades of reds, bold, shadows. I visualized this as each of us standing side by side honoring those friends & family who have been affected by HIV/AIDS," Archer said in an email. "On a personal level, I see many friends up there and therefore, I see myself."
Among activities in Houston are the 13th annual World AIDS Day Luncheon at the Westin Galleria hotel on Monday. The keynote speaker is Phill Wilson, president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, the only national AIDS/HIV think tank focused exclusively on black people. AIDS Foundation Houston will also present the 2013 Shelby Hodge Vision Award to UTMB - Galveston for its work in the fight against the disease.
The Harris Health System hosts its 14th annual World AIDS Day Program at Thomas Street Health Center, 2015 Thomas St., Monday at 10 a.m. The event includes The Tree of Remembrance, a 9-foot Christmas tree decorated with ornaments placed by visitors and staff in memory of family and friends who have died from the disease.