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UCR Marks World AIDS Day With All-Day Conference

UCR Marks World AIDS Day With All-Day Conference

(November 21, 2001)

In this 20th year since the first AIDS death in the United States, college students from across Southern California will come to the University of California, Riverside Saturday, Dec. 1, for an all-day conference called “Campuses Confront AIDS: Real Voices From The Real World.'

Speakers include Cleve Jones, founder of the AIDS Memorial Quilt; Chris Sandoval, director of the Multicultural AIDS Resource Center of California; Shawn Decker and Gwenn Barringer, a couple together despite AIDS; and Steve Schalchlin, who wrote “The Last Session,” a musical that recently swept the Los Angeles Theatre Critics awards.

The conference is free to UCR faculty, staff and students, and $25 per person for others. It is sponsored by the UCR Chancellor's Standing Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS; UCR’s Peer Health Education Program; and UC Regents Lecture Series.

“AIDS is an ongoing problem, yet people are starting to get complacent with the advancing medical treatment,” said Albert Haas, organizer of the conference and UCR’s Wellness Coordinator. “On Dec. 1, which is World AIDS Day, this conference will give us a chance to reevaluate where we are in the fight against a still-fatal disease. People have to remember, no cure or vaccine is even in sight.”

Haas said speakers will address AIDS as a worldwide epidemic, the virus’ growing immunity to current medications, and the fact that young people who may have not known anyone who died of AIDS must continue to practice safe sex. To register, request a meal and see a complete program overview visit the website

Bios of Speakers

Shawn Decker & Gwenn Barringer

'A Boy, A Girl, A Virus . . . and the Relationship that Happened Anyway.'

Shawn Decker, a hemophiliac, acquired the HIV virus through tainted blood products at age seven. Much like Ryan White, Shawn was expelled by his school in rural Virginia and grew up surrounded by fear and ignorance, believing he would die of AIDS-relate causes before he could even drive. As the years passed, the possibility of a normal adult life became less remote. While his peers began dating and experimenting with sex, he worried if a kiss at the end of a date could pass along the virus. Would anyone want him, knowing he was HIV positive? Gwenn Barringer, a professional AIDS educator, answered that question. The two met at a seminar, and soon fell in love in spite of Shawn's challenges with the virus. They are bringing a new twist on HIV awareness to college campuses.

Cleve Jones

'The Politics of the AIDS Epidemic'

Cleve, founder of 'The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt,' has a unique perspective on the funding and support, from a political vantage point, for this global epidemic. Through his experience as a worldwide activist, he is also able to address issues of access to treatment, pharmaceutical patents, socials forces and status of women in developing countries. His fight against the AIDS epidemic is documented in the best-selling book, “And the Band Played On.” His own book, “Stitching a Revolution,” has been adopted for some of the UCR English composition courses. The quilt, which stretches 50 miles long, is an international symbol of the grief of friends and family of AIDS victims. It is archived on the web, at

Chris Sandoval

'AIDS in a Multicultural Society'

Like with most social health issues, people would like answers and characteristics about HIV and AIDS to fit in a 'nice little box,' where the same thing applied to everyone. But we all know that this is rarely the case. As Director of the Multicultural AIDS Resource Center of California,

Chris discusses the importance of cultural competence and sensitivity in dealing with an already difficult issue to talk about. In fact, he has an international reputation as an expert in the field of managing diversity and cross-cultural communication.

Steve Schalchlin

'Living in the Bonus Round'

Steve, a professional songwriter, said goodbye to his friends and family in 1996. Death from AIDS-related causes was only weeks away. Rescued from the edge of death by groundbreaking medications, Steve began writing songs about his experiences. These songs became the framework for the award-winning musical, The Last Session. Steve, and the musical, went on to play off-Broadway in New York City and recently swept the Los Angeles Theatre Critics awards.

UCR is located off Highway 60 in Riverside, between University Ave. and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

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The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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