Every year for the past seven years, the Esperanza Clinic at the Mission Neighborhood Health Clinic on Shotwell and 16th streets has offered a workshop for HIV patients and their families to create masks that commemorate their experiences of living with HIV. Eduardo Antonio, a health and treatment counselor at the Esperanza Clinic, created the workshop, called Unidos en Esperanza or Unity in Hope, to put a face to the statistics.
“It’s an opportunity for other departments at the clinic to come together with patients and their families,” Antonio said.
Every year, the month-long workshop strives to promote HIV awareness and to “transform our ideas, our pain of the uncertainty of the future through art and have a freedom to express it with our hands,” said Antonio.
The results are displayed in an exhibition at one of the Work Space galleries on Folsom and 17th streets. Money raised from the exhibition is used to buy materials and to rent the gallery for the next year’s workshop. Its success has attracted patients from other clinics, including patients from the Women’s Clinic who create masks of their pregnant bellies, as well as patients with diabetes.
Those who wish to participate can join the group every Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. on the second floor of the neighborhood clinic, through Nov. 13.
The exhibition will take place on AIDS Day, Dec. 1.