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For years, Georgia has been near the top of states with the highest rates of HIV/AIDS cases. In parts of Atlanta and the metro region, rates are as much as eight times the national average, and researchers say they rival levels found in some developing countries.
Friends, family, lovers, and strangers stitched colorful, personal, and heartfelt tribute panels measuring three feet by six feet—the approximate measurements of a grave, Jones says—that when stitched together create a 1.3 million square foot symbol as iconic as the red ribbon worn to raise awareness about the disease.
Many Atlantans are familiar with Sir Elton John’s local ties: his world-famous art collection that helped spark Atlanta’s obsession with photography, his hangouts at the Buckhead Diner, and his affinity for Georgia musicians. However, John’s fans may not appreciate that his most lasting gift to our city may be helping reverse the spread and stigma of AIDS.
“A lot of gay men were uncomfortable with the growing availability of PrEP because they felt it would increase promiscuity,” says AIDS activist Michael Baker. In fact, almost as soon as Truvada was endorsed by the CDC for HIV prevention two years ago, stories appeared in national media about a “slut-shaming” backlash within the gay community against the drug’s users.
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Tacoma Art Museum curator Rock Hushka and a co-curator spent 10 years putting together Art AIDS America, a traveling exhibition of 100-plus works that stops at Kennesaw’s Zuckerman Museum of Art this month.
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