Redding Up A Good Cause

Sometimes, we get serious here.  Especially when it comes to talking about HIV/AIDS. That's why we're taking a few moments to remind everyone that December 1 is World AIDS Day across the planet and invite people of all backgrounds to take part in the second(PITTSBURGH) RED World AIDS Day activities, begining Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the City-County Building and other locations throughout Downtown — even in Market Square.

Now with Mayor Ravenstahl starting off the activities at 10:30 a.m. with a speech about the seriousness of fighting HIV/AIDS, we don't have to tell you about the consequences of these diseases. But we do want to remind everyone that despite all the advances against these diseases, they still bring sickness and sadness to so many people around the world. So, we really want to let you know about some ways to get involved in helping save lives not just around the world, but right here in Pittsburgh.

One of the easiest — and most "tasteful" — things to do is visit the Starbucks in the Square for one of the company's hand-crafted beverages. Along with a much-needed midday refueling, the purchase will add a nickel to the kitty to fight AIDS. Okay, maybe five cents doesn't seem like a lot of money, but in just one year, Seattle's best coffeemaker brewed up enough java to fund more than 7 million days of medical care for people with AIDS in Africa. We think that's justifiable grounds for at least one stop for a cuppa Joe.  They also have specialty merchandise that supports the cause.

While World's AIDS Day is a remembrance of those lost to the disease, it's also a celebration of life. All week long, portions of the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display throughout the city, including the City-County Building and Fifth Avenue Place. Most important, free, confidential  HIV/AIDS testing will be available at 201 Grant Street from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Wednesday, December 1.

Of course, you can show your support in a very visible way by wearing a red ribbon, which will be available Downtown tomorrow. Pick one up at a Starbucks location like Market Square (while supplies last) or at 10 a.m. at the City County Building where Starbucks will be giving away coffee and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh students will be giving away red ribbon cookies.  There is a suggested donation of $1 for coffee and cookies with all proceeds to (Pittsburgh)RED.

If they run out of ribbons at the Market Square Starbucks, well, just look up at the spire of the Highmark Building, which will be lighted up in red for the occasion. And, please, remember that after World Aids Day is over, the battle against HIV/AIDS — and to save lives — goes on every day in our own community.  So wear some red tomorrow, grab a ribbon and find out what you can do to be aware, be safe, and support your neighbors currently living with HIV/AIDS.


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