University of Pittsburgh
November 24, 2009

Pitt Health Professionals to Speak at Red-Ribbon Gala Dec. 1

Fundraiser held on World AIDS Day to benefit local teen awareness organization

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH-Two University of Pittsburgh health professionals will be the featured speakers at the annual Red Ribbon Gala sponsored by Educating Teens About HIV/AIDS, Inc., (ETAH) to observe World AIDS Day. The gala will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 1, at the Twentieth Century Club, 4201 Bigelow Blvd., Oakland.

The event is a fundraiser for ETAH, a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 to educate pre-teens, teens, and young adults about HIV/AIDS.

Guest speakers include Jeannette South-Paul, UPMC Andrew W. Mathieson Professor and Chair in the Pitt School of Medicine's Department of Family Medicine, and Donald Burke, the first University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Jonas Salk Chair in Global Health and dean of the Pitt School of Public Health.

Through collaborations with the business community, ETAH encourages schools, houses of worship, and community groups to plan programs to educate teens about HIV/AIDS. Kezia L. Ellison developed the project while in high school as a Service Learning Project for the PA Governor's School for Excellence in Health Care. Gala organizers says the need for this project is greater now than it was 10 years ago.

ETAH cites the following statistics:

o Every nine and a half minutes, a person in the United States is infected with HIV;

o 50 percent of all new HIV infections occur in people under the age of 25;

o One in four U.S. girls has a sexually transmitted disease;

o Girls represent 51 percent of the 15-19 year olds infected with HIV, and 65 percent of

these girls are African American;

o AIDS is the leading cause of death among Black women ages 25-34, and the second-

leading cause of death among Black men ages 35-44; and

o Pennsylvania ranks 6th in the nation in cumulative AIDS cases.

To further heighten awareness, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has declared Monday, Nov. 30, 2009, Educating Teens About HIV/AIDS, Inc., Day.

Proceeds from the Red Ribbon Gala will support such ETAH activities as Teen HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the Youth Peer Advocates Training, Live Life Without the Disease Series, and the Focus on Youth With ImPACT.

The Red Ribbon committee is chaired by Robert Hill, Pitt vice chancellor for public affairs. The honorary chairs are Hill House Association CEO and president Evan S. Frazier and his wife, Holly. Reservations are required for this event; black tie is optional. For ticket information, call 412-973-9524 or e-mail Tickets may be purchased online at