Dec. 1, 2007 is World AIDS Day, and this year’s theme is “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise – Leadership.” World AIDS Day (WAD) was started on Dec. 1, 1988, and serves as a day to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
AIDS has claimed the lives of over 25 million people worldwide since its discovery, and it is estimated that 39.5 million people are currently living with HIV or AIDS.
This is a day for individuals, groups, governments and nations to unite to educate, fight prejudice, raise money and make plans to destroy this horrible epidemic.
Since the first WAD, there have been medical advancements in fighting these afflictions; however, we still have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us. New medication makes living with HIV/AIDS easier, if you can afford it.
Unfortunately, most of the population living with HIV/AIDS cannot afford medication to help control these illnesses. Ninety-five percent of the people living with HIV/AIDS live in developing countries where health care is not readily available.
For example, in South Africa, one in four people ages 15 to 49 is infected with HIV.
A cure for HIV/AIDS and a vaccine to prevent HIV needs to be developed so we have a fighting chance to eliminate HIV/AIDS. Without education, health care and world help, the people in these countries are going to continue to be infected and die.
In accordance with this year’s theme, many students and organizations are taking the lead to raise HIV/AIDS awareness right here on campus.
The Wellness Center will be handing out red ribbons and HIV/AIDS awareness packets including condoms and lubrication to help spread the word about WAD and how you can protect yourself.
The West Chester University Theatre and Dance Department will be holding their Fifth Annual AIDS Benefit on Dec. 1. The benefit raises awareness and funds for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
There will be a silent auction starting at 7 p.m. with a performance following at 8 p.m. For tickets, please call 610-436-2533.
During the week of Nov. 26, Alyssa De Grace and David Stoverschlegel will be hosting a table outside Ram’s Head Food Court where anyone who donates $1.00 or more can sign a banner. Those who do not donate $1.00 or more are still welcome to take some free safe sex giveaways.
The banner and donations will go to Mothers to Mothers, m2m.org, a program that educates HIV positive mothers on how they can give birth to healthy, non-infected children.
There will also be competitions going on during that week between clubs and residence halls to raise the most money, and the winning group will receive a pizza party.
Then on Dec. 1, they will be hosting a video in Sykes Student Union entitled “Yesterday,” a movie about AIDS in South Africa, from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.
To help make this World AIDS Day a success, wear the ribbon, spread the word, donate and take the lead to help fight HIV/AIDS.
Allison Schmoll is a fourth-year student majoring in psychology. She can be reached at AS597777@wcupa.edu.