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At the Viral Front

SUN 3/30

Every day, soldiers struggle in the "homeland" to keep a biological agent at bay. The agent is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that has infected almost 900,000 people domestically. Although effective treatments have reduced the epidemic to an afterthought in the American psyche, AIDS continues to spread and kill. Recent spikes in syphilis and other STDs are raising concerns that HIV infections are also rising.

This week the troops come to town for the American Foundation for AIDS Research's (AmFAR) fifteenth annual National HIV/AIDS Update Conference, going on from Sunday, March 30, to Wednesday, April 2, at Miami's Hotel Inter-Continental. Held outside of San Francisco for the first time ever, the event arrives in the city with the second-highest infection rate (53.4 per 100,000 people) in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Complacency may be adding to that statistic, says AmFAR chairman Mervyn Silverman. Conference members will continue to fight despite the tide of apathy that surrounds AIDS today. "We need a magic bullet," Silverman says, noting the poor results of vaccine trials and unsafe sexual practices. "If we leave it to human nature we haven't got a chance." -- Juan Carlos Rodriguez

Fashion Victim or Victor?

NOW 24/7

Cha-cha heels and rhinestone anklets are not approphriate Operation Iraqi Freedom combat gear, but bitchin' babes know the damage they can inflict while walking all over pesky terrorists and lust-lorn homeboys. While stilettos may not save you from chemical agents, they can spark reactions to turn you into one hot little biological weapon. -- Juan Carlos Rodriguez

Light On
A candlelight tour of Gables manses

THUR 3/27

In 1925 when George Merrick established the City of Coral Gables, the lightbulb already had been illuminating indoor spaces for 40-plus years. But just like people, buildings look better by candlelight. That doesn't mean attendees of the Coral Gables Candlelight Homes Tour will drip wax all over residents' floors on Thursday, March 27. Just that they'll ogle properties during the evening for a change. At 5:30 p.m. trolleys will ferry participants from the Venetian Pool to five houses. A reception and dinner at the pool await afterward. Cost is $50. Reservations and prepayment are required. Call 305-460-5093.--By Nina Korman

Fly Guy
Glenn Curtiss in the air

SUN 3/30

Westward and Forward you'll cry during a Dade Heritage Days tour of the same name. On display: historic aviation sites related to inventor, developer, and pioneering aviator Glenn Curtiss.Begin at Curtiss's endangered Pueblo Mission-style home and hear about his accomplishments. The motorcycle designer and racer set a land speed record on a motorcycle in 1907 before receiving the first pilot's license in 1908 and building and selling the first commercial aircraft in 1909. Next stop: airplane hangars at Opa-locka airport -- Curtiss developed Opa-locka, Miami Springs, and Hialeah. South Florida's crucial role in training and deploying pilots to fight in World Wars I and II will be covered. Final destination: Miami International Airport, a testament to the evolution of aviation into a vital means of transportation.

Westward and Forward begins at 1:00 p.m. Sunday, March 30. Tickets cost $30. Call 305-774-9019 for reservations.


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