Last Monday marked National HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and the Black Student Union (BSU) was up to the challenge of educating students about HIV/AIDS. Their presentation on Tuesday, Feb. 8, was not just a lecture about sex education. BSU public relations officer, Tiffany Alexander, was responsible for the event. Her guest presenters, Tiffany Brown and Syreeta Bagley of Youth Outreach Adolescent Community Awareness Program (YO ACAP) came to West Chester University to present details and statistics about HIV/AIDS to the student body. YO ACAP is an organization run out of Philadelphia that is devoted to enhance the quality of life and health for Philadelphians through community- based and culturally competent interventions. Their presentation did not target only blacks; information regarding all races and both genders was given. Their statistics gave insight about how HIV/AIDS is spread, how often it is spread and how the rate of infection has grown in recent years.
The graphic presentation was necessary to reach the minds of todayʼs youth, students said. The presentation lasted approximately one hour and included education from Bagley on how HIV/AIDS is contracted and spread from human to human. Also, both Brown and Bagley explained how the virus works in the body. In addition to this, Brown chose members of the audience to demonstrate how to use a male or female condom. Brown stressed the proper use of both male and female condoms and how effective they are in providing a barrier of protection against HIV. She also stressed the use of dental dams, which provide protection during oral sex.
The presenters told students what to do if they felt as though they may have come in contact with the virus and how to approach a positive diagnosis. Students were urged by the presenters to get tested if they were unsure about their HIV status. As the commercial says, “Knowing Is Beautiful.”
When asked why she wanted this presentation on campus, Alexander said, “My intent was not to make myself look good, but to promote HIV/AIDS awareness to the student body here at WCU.”
HIV/AIDS is a serious topic, and according to the promoters it spreads at a rate of seven individuals per hour. If any student here at WCU desires to be tested for HIV/AIDS, the Health Center located on the 2nd floor in Wayne Hall provides accurate and anonymous testing for a $5 fee. Results can be obtained two weeks after testing.