Prominent AIDS activist to visit Dec. 1

After learning she contracted HIV in 2000 from her husband, Anita Isaacs, who visits campus on Dec. 1 for World AIDS Day, took aim at the stigma attached to the disease in her native country. The Namibian activist is now tackling violence against women, a theme she plans to explore in her first visit to Elon since 2004.

Isaacs visits the university this weekend as part of the “Footprints of Africa” program sponsored by the Periclean Scholars classes of 2009 and 2010. Her story caught the attention of an Elon University faculty member when he traveled to the continent five years ago, and Isaacs, 47, is now a well-known name around the globe.
The talk is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, in Yeager Recital Hall in the Center for the Arts. It is free and open to the public. Isaacs plans to sell clothing from Namibia to support HIV/AIDS awareness programs in her country.
“She puts a human face on the problem of AIDS in Africa,” said sociology professor Tom Arcaro, who heads Project Pericles at the university. “If this were happening in Europe or America, it wouldn’t be happening. There’s no way we would allow this many people to die.”
When she traveled to Elon for World AIDS Day in 2004, Isaacs shared her personal story and her efforts to educate others about HIV and AIDS, which 20 percent of the people in her country have contracted. Arcaro said that one of the underlying causes to the disease is domestic violence – an issue that Isaacs, a former Periclean Scholar in residence, will address.
For her work as an activist, Isaacs was recently named one of 14 recipients of the World YWCA Women Leading Change Award. “Coming to see Anita will help students think about AIDS in a very personal way,” Arcaro said.
Isaacs will visit the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University during her visit to the United States, which runs from Nov. 26 through Dec. 10. She is also scheduled to talk with Dick Gordon, host of “The Story,” on National Public Radio.
For more information on the “Footprints of Africa” program and Isaacs visit, click on the link below.