Worlds AIDs was a chance to educate students
World AIDs day was celebrated on Dec 3. with awareness and education in the Memorial Union. NDSU Health Services set up a booth and held an event in The Prairie-Rose room.
This day of global awareness is held on Dec. 1 every year and is an opportunity to bring awareness to HIV which 37.9 Million people live with every day, according to hiv.gov.
Student health services organized the happenings bringing together community members who are dedicated to sexual health. The group provided Vouchers for free HIV and STI testing. The Vouchers can be used by the end of the month for free tests at the Wallman Wellness Center.
The Art community also participated in solidarity by covering up the art hanging in the memorial union. “A day without art” was held in remembrance of artists lost to HIV and Aids. The show of support from the art community is national and dates back to 1989 according to the flyers hanging on the art.
Creighton Brown, the Inclusive Excellence Initiatives Coordinator for the Vice Provost for faculty and equity, helped plan the event and handed out a testing voucher along with condoms in the Union.
“Mostly what we’re trying to accomplish today is to let students know about testing and safer sex practices,” Brown said.
According to the CDC, young people made up 21 percent of all the new HIV cases in 2017. In 2019, the number of infections for ages 25-34 increased according to hiv.gov.
This population is stigmatized because of their diagnosis according to Brown. “It’s not a death sentence anymore, you can live on treatment and if your viral load is undetectable then it means it is non-transmittable.”
“The risks posed are manageable now in a way they may not have been in decades past,” Brown said.
Brown said he worked with Emily Hegg, the Assistant Director of Health promotions to bring the event to students.
“So really we just wanted a space that students can come in and engage with one another and get connected with some resources,” Hegg said.
They also partnered with Planned Parenthood and the North Dakota Department of Health to make it all possible.
The booth was engaging students that walked by, but inside the Prairie Rose room, the only participants seemed to be the ones involved in the various organizations.
Hegg said student health knew this was going to be a problem. “So Worlds AIDS day happens on the first of December, academically that does not fit well with our students, obviously because of finals coming up,” Hegg said, “So getting students to come to an extra event is difficult.”
Student involvement is a continuous issue for Student Health according to Hegg. “You as students are inundated with information and resources.”
The question posed to student heath according to Hegg is how to get this information to students in the best way possible.
Hegg said she would like people to know that on the student health page for NDSU students can fill out a survey to receive the same testing voucher that was given out during the event.