Square for quilt donated at World AIDS Day

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A heart, a truck, a butterfly, a flower and a bird will be added to the AIDS Memorial Quilt in memory of Vallonia native J. R. Peters.

The Seymour chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays conducted the annual World AIDS Day event Wednesday where they dedicated the quilt made in memory of Peters and in honor of his mother, Betty Peters.

Michael Waskom said the event started as a vigil and evolved into a way to bring awareness about AIDS to the community. He is the group’s treasurer.

“There’s not a lot of other organizations in Jackson County that do that,” he said.

Waskom said the event serves as an opportunity to put a face on the issue of AIDS. In rural areas such as Jackson County, people often feel distant to the issues of AIDS, he said.

“There’s still a stigma, but individuals and families in our community are affected by it,” Waskom said. “Once you see a face (of an AIDS victim), it’s no longer a thing that doesn’t happen here.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50,000 people are infected with HIV each year across the nation. One-fourth of those infected annually are between the ages of 13 and 24.

Local PFLAG president Trina Tracy said it is important to promote education of HIV and AIDS — especially in southern Indiana where she said the problem is often unnoticed or ignored.

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