A regional hub for the biennial International AIDS Conference, organized by AIDS Resource Alliance and co-sponsored by Pennsylvania College of Technology, will be held Oct. 25 to 26 at the Thompson Professional Development Center on the college's main campus in Williamsport.
"Very few events could be more in keeping with our college mission to promote personal growth, social awareness, a commitment to diversity and lifelong learning," said Eugene M. McAvoy, dean of academic services and first year programs at Penn College. "Our participation in the conference will give our students, faculty and staff an opportunity to contribute to one of the most important public health dialogues going on right now."
The college hub is a "mini-conference" held by community organizations in conjunction with the international event; members of the campus community are encouraged to participate, along with health care and human services providers who will be invited by AIDS Resource. Local co-sponsors include Penn College's School of Health Sciences, School of Integrated Studies, and Office of Diversity and Cultural Life.
There is no cost, but pre-registration by Oct. 19 is required. Those interested in attending can register at www.aidsresource.com.
"Just as there is no one face of AIDS-HIV, so is there no one approach to dealing with AIDS-HIV," said Kirsten Burkhart, executive director of AIDS Resource. "This conference gives us a unique opportunity to apply global knowledge to our regional situation and to develop approaches that work specifically for us."
Five sessions, many of them targeting discrimination that can follow those living with HIV-AIDS - a stigma that might even affect their access to medical treatment - will be held during the two-day event. Recorded sessions from the broader conference will be screened for local participants, with moderators conducting follow-up discussions on issues related to community needs.
"AIDS Resource has established itself as a regional leader in the fight to end the AIDS epidemic," said Elly Katabira, chair of the AIDS 2012 international conference. "It is fitting that AIDS Resource hosts a hub to ensure stakeholders in northeastern Pennsylvania have the opportunity to enhance their efforts with the local AIDS response."