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December 1, 2013 at 6:27 PM

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World AIDS Day commemorated


BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Michael Louella, outreach coordinator for the AIDS Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Washington, sets out cleansing seawater on a living altar he created with The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, The Abbey of St. Joan at Gay City Health Project to commemorate people with HIV and AIDS on World AIDS Day Sunday Dec. 1, 2013. Louella, a former schoolteacher, was first confronted with the realities of AIDS when living in New Orleans in the mid-nineties. "People went there to die," Louella said, "They were there to say farewell to the flesh." Friends of his have passed away from the disease but he isn't able to count how many, since most people never talk about it, and many are still being diagnosed. "It's the new closet. But, I don't blame people. It's the most stigmatized disease." For more information about getting tested in Seattle, visit https://www.gaycity.org/ or http://llaa.org.

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