Sault Ste. Marie, ON (Sept. 12, 2023) – To help in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Group Health Centre’s HIV and AIDS Resource Program (HARP) has teamed up with The Sault Ste. Marie Museum to bring the community, The Positively Red Ball. The Ball is a 19+ event that will take place on Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, at The Grand Gardens, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
The goal of The Positively Red Ball is to smash the stigma individuals living with HIV/AIDS face here in the Algoma District while also raising funds for an HIV/AIDS Memorial Wall.
“The Memorial Wall is something very unique to our community,” said Roy Schuurhuis, Healthy Sexuality and Prevention Coordinator at HARP. “It’s something our community doesn’t have, and really, it’s an opportunity to recognize those individuals that have passed away or who are being affected by HIV.”
The HIV/AIDS Memorial Wall will be housed at The Sault Ste. Marie Museum.
“As the Community Museum, it is imperative for us to collect and recognize the history of our community in its entirety,” said William Hollingshead, Executive Director and Chief Curator at The Sault Ste. Marie Museum. “Having this memorial live at The Museum allows us to continue to diversify our collections and displays, and it’s an important art piece recognizing and memorializing those who have passed away from and currently living with HIV/AIDS.”
The theme for the evening is “Wear Your Best Red.” Attendees are encouraged to wear their most over-the-top formal red-coloured outfits. The colour red has been chosen because red is the universal symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV.
“I don’t think a lot of people realize; anyone can get HIV. No matter the person’s sex, gender, or sexual orientation. HIV does not discriminate,” said Schuurhuis. “The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested.”
Not only will this be a chance for a night of fun, but The Positively Red Ball will also be an opportunity to educate attendees on healthy sexuality, HIV/AIDS testing and prevention while addressing the stigma and discrimination of those living and affected by HIV/AIDS.
“At this event, we want to shift the conversation to one of compassion and support, and we want to celebrate everyone attending,” said Schuurhuis. “The night will include a guest DJ, specialty cocktails, dance performances, an antipasto bar, a silent auction, fire dancers, a staged photo area, and even awards for the best dressed.”
Early bird ticket prices are $75 and are available to purchase from now until September 18. Regular ticket prices are $80 and at the door $90.
Tickets are available for purchase from HARP and Amore. Please visit saultmuseum.ca/red-ball to purchase your tickets online and to learn more about the event.
Group Health Centre’s HARP is the leading source of information on HIV and confidential support for people living in the Algoma District. HARP offers an understanding, supportive environment with a wide variety of prevention information and access to harm-reduction materials.
The Sault Ste. Marie Museum is a non-profit, charitable organization facilitated by the Sault Ste. Marie & 49th Field Regiment R.C.A. Historical Society for the citizens of Sault Ste. Marie and the District of Algoma, as well as visitors to the community. A management Board of Directors oversees the operation of the Museum.