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Local nonprofit executives get theatrical to spotlight HIV/AIDS

Friday, March 1, 2013 - 7:52 am

It isn't often that an executive director from a nonprofit organization participates in a theatrical skit, but four of them will on March 8.

The skit is the latest way Lisa Terry, director of the AIDS Task Force of Northeast Indiana has come up with to get the organization's message to the public. She has written and is directing the skit, which is meant to enlighten women to the dangers of HIV/AIDS. No stranger to theater, 20 years ago Terry took a similar theatrical message to the schools in Florida.

Joining Terry in the production is Nancy Lorraine, executive director of Turnstone; Becky Weimerskirch, executive director of Community Transportation Network; Debby Beckman, president and CEO of the YWCA of Northeast Indiana; and several other volunteers from nonprofit agencies.

Beckman said some of the nonprofit women executive directors have a support group for each other, and when Terry asked if they would like to be involved in the project they were happy to donate their time and talent.

The production is called “The Birds, the Bees and HIV.” The one-act drama is set in the waiting room of an OB-GYN office. The women are seated in a semicircle, much like a waiting room. Through their conversation the topics of safe sex and HIV/AIDS are discussed in a fun and informative way. The skit will be performed at a free brown bag seminar at the YWCA at noon March 8, which coincides with National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

According to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2009, “There were an estimated 11,200 new HIV infections among women in the United States. That year, women comprised 51 percent of the U.S. population and 23 percent of those newly infected with HIV.”

In 2009, African-American women contracted HIV 15 times more often than white women, while Hispanic/Latino women were infected three times over the rate of white women.

According to the CDC website, “Of the total number of new HIV infections in US women in 2009, 57 percent occurred in blacks, 21percent were in whites, and 16 percent were in Hispanics/Latinas.

The most current data from the CDC runs through 2010. During the years of 2009 and 2010, the highest numbers of people infected were in the age range of 25-34. However, between those two years there was an increase in the number of people in the 55 and older bracket that contracted the infection. Terry and the AIDS Task Force attribute the increase to Viagra.

“People are sexually active a lot longer now.” Terry said.

The brown bag luncheon will give women an opportunity to learn more about the disease. After the short skit there will be a question-and-answer session, along with free Girl Scout cookies. Questions can be submitted anonymously from the audience.

For more information on the event or to RSVP, contact Sue Hiatt: 424-4908, Ext. 254 or shiatt@ywcaerew.org.