Annual AIDS society auction this Friday

Raissa Tetanish
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TRURO – Art lovers may want to be at a local hotel Friday night for the annual charity auction in support of the Northern AIDS Connection Society (NACS).

Janet MacPhee, hepatitis C co-ordinator for the Northern AIDS Connection Society, and Eric Pace, the society’s events co-ordinator, show some of the items up for grabs at this Friday’s annual charity auction. The event, which begins with a viewing at 6 p.m. at the Best Western Plus Glengarry, will feature about a dozen pieces of art in the live auction and another 70 items in the silent auction. 

Eric Pace, events co-ordinator for the society, said about 12 pieces of local artwork will be put up during the live auction, while more than 70 items from local businesses and organizations will be available through a silent auction.

“We’ve got quite a few paintings and numerous items for the silent auction,” said Pace, noting this is the 12th year for the auction, which supports the costs of running various programs within the organization. “For the silent auction, we’ve got items from gift certificates to pottery.”

The auction begins with viewing at 6 p.m. Friday at the Best Western Plus Glengarry on Willow Street. The auction begins at 7.

The charity auction raises between $3,000 and $4,000 each year, and executive director Al McNutt is hoping that will climb.

“One of the reasons we don’t make as much as other charity auctions is because it still seems to be an issue around HIV and AIDS,” McNutt said. “If the auction was for mainstreamed, socially acceptable issues, I think we would see more.”

McNutt said many people still only associate HIV and AIDS with gay men and those who inject drugs.

“But the highest rising group is white, heterosexual young females between the ages of 14 and 25,” he said.

With about 75 people participating in last year’s auction, the organization is hoping for more this year. People can pay not only with cash or cheque, but also Visa or Mastercard.

In the past, the charity auction had no minimum bids, but things may change this year.

“When you get a $500 painting and it goes for $80, it’s not good promotion for the artist,” said McNutt. “People have often gone home with a great piece of art for great prices. Minimum bids are about showing appreciation for the artists.”

Along with HIV and AIDS programming and education, NACS also works with youth on sexual health and making safe communities for the gay, lesbian and transgender community.

The organization also works with the hepatitis C population, which, according to hepatitis C co-ordinator Janet MacPhee and McNutt, is growing and outweighs the HIV population now.

“We are working with a much broader program now than HIV and AIDS,” said McNutt.

“We also include a needle exchange program and are working with the youth members of our community,” MacPhee added. “With our needle exchange program, we gave out 1,291 needles last year, and we also distributed 4,400 free condoms.”

McNutt said many of the issues that are climbing, such as hepatitis C, can be preventable.

“These are happening because people are not making healthy choices,” he said. “They are taking unnecessary risks in their lives. We provide services for about 10 to 15 people living with HIV, but that number is higher when it comes to hepatitis C.”

Twitter: @TDNRaissa


HIV by the numbers

-      67,442: The number of positive HIV test reports in Canada since HIV reporting began in 1985 to Dec. 31, 2008.

-      21,300: The total number of AIDS cases reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) from 1979 to Dec. 31, 2008.

Trends among youth aged 15 to 29

-      26.5 %: The percentage of all HIV test reports attributed to youth since reporting began.

-      11.8%: Of all AIDS cases in 2008 were attributed to the 15-29 age group.

-      66.7%: Of reported AIDS cases attributed to youth in 2008 were young males: the remainder were among young females.

-      26.3 to 42.9%: The increased proportion of AIDS cases since 2000 among young men who have sex with men.

-      31.6 to 42.9%: The decreased proportion of AIDS cases since 2000 among youth who inject drugs.

-      34.2 to 14.3%: The decreased proportion of AIDS cases since 2000 attributed to heterosexual contact among youth.

-      39.5%: The proportion of positive HIV test reports attributed to youth in 1985.

-      21 to 23%: The proportion of annual HIV test reports of youth between 1998 and 2008.

-      33.5%: Of all positive HIV test reports among youth in 2008 was highest among all females in the 15-29 age.

Source: Canadian AIDS Society, March 2012

Organizations: AIDS society, Visa, Mastercard Public Health Agency of Canada

Geographic location: Willow Street, Canada

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