Nov. 15, 2012
HIV+ women knitted scarlet scarves and plan to wear them on World AIDS Day.
- Members of the Knitting Circle, a unique program of the Legacy Grace Project that teaches HIV-positive women how to knit, providing an intimate setting to build community, support, and hope with others beyond traditional HIV health services, will unveil and courageously wear their handmade scarlet scarves for the first time on World AIDS Day, Saturday, December 1, 2012, 3:00 p.m. at the Main Street Garden in Dallas.
The knitting circles, which began at this year's Legacy Grace Project National Conference in Dallas, are run by the women themselves, many of whom live in areas of the city that have been hardest hit by the epidemic.
"These wonderful women will gather together, and those who are brave enough to publicly disclose their HIV status will proudly wear their own handmade red scarf, something that's become their own scarlet letters of sorts," said Legacy executive director Melissa Grove.
Grove explained that knitting with others offers a chance for the women to process and deal with their infection status, which often remains taboo in many cultures. The knitting circles increase knowledge of the participants and decreases their individual loneliness and isolation that often accompanies women with HIV or AIDS. The resulting product, a handmade scarlet scarf, symbolizes each woman's empowerment of struggle and hope.
"There are over 4,000 women in the North Texas area who are HIV-positive,"
Grove said. "As people see these wives, daughters, sisters and mothers wearing scarlet scarves, our hope is that others will consider testing and learn more about the public health crisis of our age. For women who are HIV+, but fearful of disclosing their status, seeing these women will remind them that they are not alone and that there is hope."
The 2012 World AIDS Day Dallas (http://worldaidsdaydallas.com/
) observance on Saturday, December 1, from 3:00 - 6:00 p.m. at Main Street Garden in downtown Dallas is a partnership of private, governmental, and not-for-profit organizations, including Legacy, dedicated to "getting to zero:" Zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths. AIDS Interfaith Network is hosting and coordinating the event.
The Grace Project (http://legacygraceproject.org/
) provides mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment, and health education for HIV-positive women. The program also hosts the annual Grace Project HIV+ Women's National Conference, a one-of-a-kind three-day event exclusively for HIV-positive geared towards personal growth, empowerment, connection, and inspiration. The conference includes discussion groups, workshops from health care professionals, team-building challenges and many other unique activities. The 2013 Conference will be held at the Park Inn by Radisson in Dallas.
Legacy Counseling Center (http://legacycares.org
) provides individual and group therapy to HIV-positive people and their families. Legacy also operates Founders Cottage, a seven-bedroom house that provides 24-hour care for critically ill AIDS patients in a home-like setting.Photo: