Patricia SiplonTwenty-five years since AIDS was first identified as a mysterious virus affecting gay men in California, the infection has spread to nearly every corner of the world. At least 96% of those infected live in the developing world, most in sub-Saharan Africa. Left untreated, AIDS is eventually fatal; however, life-prolonging antiretroviral drugs have begun to transform HIV from a death sentence into a manageable chronic illness for those fortunate enough to have access to them.

Drawing from extensive research and experience with HIV/AIDS in Africa, Patricia Siplon will present a lucid and compelling account of how far we have come and the challenges that lie ahead in coping with the global AIDS pandemic. She will take us beyond the grim statistics to highlight some accomplishments as well as hopeful developments that are underway.

Siplon has written extensively on HIV/AIDS, politics and public policy and is currently an associate professor in the Political Sciences Department at Saint Michael’s College. Under a Fulbright Scholarship, she conducted research in Tanzania this year and was awarded Vermont Professor of the Year in 2003. At Saint Michael’s College Siplon organized a Student Global AIDS Campaign, created a course to examine the AIDS pandemic in Africa and has traveled to Tanzania with students to examine the work of grass roots AIDS education organizations. She has worked tirelessly to educate the community about this issue and has given numerous conference presentations and invited lectures in the U.S. and abroad. Siplon's published works include AIDS and the Policy Struggle in the United States (Georgetown University Press, 2002) and, with a co-author, AIDS Treatment Activism in the Era of Globalizaion.

This presentation is sponsored by the Green Mountain Global Forum and will take place Thursday, July 20, 7pm at The Big Picture Theatre in Waitsfield. It is free to the public. For more information call 496-7556.

The Big Picture Theater will also be airing a film about AIDS, "And The Band Played On," after the live presentation at 9pm, 20 July.