PA Thrive Partnership marked World AIDS Day by displaying a panel of the AIDS Memorial Quilt on all three PennWest campuses. The quilt was displayed Dec. 5 in Clarion’s Eagle Commons; Dec. 6 in Edinboro’s Pogue Student Center; and Dec. 7 in California’s Natali Student Center.
The purpose of the quilt is to honor those who have passed away from HIV/AIDS, to educate the community, and to reduce the stigma of the disease. According to the National AIDS Memorial website, during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s, a group of strangers gathered at a San Francisco storefront to remember the names and lives of their loved ones they feared history would forget. With that seemingly simple act of love, the first panels of the quilt were created. It consists of more than 50,000 individual 3-by-6-foot memorial panels commemorating more than 110,000 lives lost to AIDS. The quilt continues to grow.
Thanks to the work of PA Thrive Partnership and similar organizations, AIDS is no longer the death sentence that it once was. Darrin Kinander, executive director of PA Thrive Partnership, said people are now living for 30 years or more with HIV due to the improved quality and availability of HIV care. Medications can prevent the replication of the virus, thus reducing the viral load of people with AIDS. The organization’s caseload is 390 individuals.
PA Thrive Partnership was founded in 1991 as the Northwest Pennsylvania Rural AIDS Alliance, providing services to 13 counties throughout the northwest part of the state. It has since expanded to include 12 north-central counties and in 2022 rebranded as PA Thrive Partnership. The organization’s goal is to work with and for the communities it serves, partnering in the treatment of HIV and AIDS to improve, protect and promote the health of individuals.
Services include free and confidential HIV and Hepatitis C testing at their walk-in clinics in Clarion, Jefferson, Venango, Warren, Crawford, Lawrence and Erie counties, or at mobile clinics; medical case management; hardship and housing assistance; mental health services; pharmacy; and high-impact prevention. Transportation assistance is available for the clinics and for medical case management.
PA Thrive Partnership adheres to the confidentiality guidelines of HIPPA. For services, call 814-297-8220 in Clarion County or 814-454-3811 in Erie County, or visit the website at https://pa-thrive.com.