Local residents can help out those challenged with HIV virus at a benefit tonight and pick up some great Christmas presents while they’re at it.
Monk’s restaurant is hosting a Wreath Benefit Auction for Northland Cares from 5 to 8 p.m. tonight in Prescott. A silent auction featuring a wide variety of wreath artwork is scheduled, with artwork donated by local artists to help raise money for Northland Cares to continue to offer treatment and services.
Northland Cares is a local HIV/AIDS non-profit organization servicing Northern Arizona that is dedicated to improving the quality of life of those individuals infected with and affected by HIV or AIDS. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised from the auction will directly benefit the Northland Cares clinic and the programs and services offered to all individuals living with HIV/AIDS regardless of their ability to pay or where they reside in Northern Arizona.
“We have over 50 unique, handcrafted wreaths that have been donated by some very talented local artists,” said event coordinator Kerri Vaughn. “Each one of them is special in their own way, as are the Northland Cares clients.
“Some of the highlights or special ones include a Western theme (horseshoes and wagon wheel) wreath created by Dave Newman of Newman Gallery. Another one is made of recycled copper by Chanelle Courtney, a Jerome artist. Also featured is a miniature fused-glass wreaths (created by me and six of my friends at Astril Glass Studio).”
Brent Smith of Jersey Lilly Saloon created an exotic succulents wreath. The talents of third-grade students at Primavera School will be available, as well as a wreath made by residents at Pineview Adult Care Home.
“Of course, there are some holiday wreaths, but we also collected quite a few fall/autumn themed, as well as an adorable ‘artist-themed’ wreath created and donated by Theresa Seley from the Frame and I. It is adorned with a miniature palette, pencil and even a mini etch-a-sketch,” said Vaughn.
No admission will be charged at the benefit and appetizers will be provided by Monk’s.
Although treatment of AIDS and HIV has improved over the years and fewer people die from these infections, it does not mean the infectious virus has disappeared from the Prescott community or other Northern Arizona towns and cities.
“People think that because they don’t hear about HIV in their neighborhoods it has gone away but it has not,” said Prescott Dr. Sam Downing of the Northland Cares non-profit clinic.
“I think the main reason we don’t hear about it so much anymore is people aren’t dying from it,” he said. “We know about 40,000 new cases of HIV are being transmitted in this country every year, so it’s not going away. But what’s happening is the treatment has become so much more effective for people that they’re doing better. They are living as normal lives as one can being HIV positive and they are not dying, so it’s not so attractive to the media anymore.
“I’d love to tell you that it’s going away and that we’ve got a cure for it but that’s just not where we are,” Dr. Downing said. “We’re just treating it effectively.”
The Arizona Department of Health Services reports there are currently between 1,200 and 1,500 cases of HIV infection in Northern Arizona.