HIV/AIDS day to raise awareness

Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and marks the fourth year that the Office of Multicultural Programming has used the day to raise awareness at the university level.

In 2005, blacks accounted for 49 percent of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These statistics help encourage underrepresented populations to get tested for HIV/AIDS, especially when many health grants have resulted in free testing sites in urban areas said Char Kopchick, director of health promotion at Ohio University.

Even though awareness is rising in minority populations, the percentage of the majority population getting tested is low, said Kopchick.

On Tuesday there was free HIV/AIDS testing in Baker University Center that few OU students participated in, and POWER held a presentation focusing on HIV/AIDS that no one attended.

Young people do not view it as their issue

unless they know someone who has been directly affected by it. Some people truly believe that HIV/AIDS is a non-issue because they don't hear of people dying

said Kopchick.<br /><br />In 2005 alone, the CDC estimates that 17,011(16,316 according to CDC Web site) people infected with HIV/AIDS died. That would be like the entire OU undergraduate population dying in one year.<br /><br />The CDC also reports that highest number of newly diagnosed HIV/AIDS cases were people between the ages of 35 to 45. Given that it takes an estimated 10 years before symptoms of HIV/AIDS occur, most people contract the virus during their early twenties, said Kopchick. <br /><br />OU attracts students from every part of the U.S. and all of the medical baggage that goes along with them. Young people tend to be very trusting when it comes to sex and because of that, they put themselves at risk, Kopchick said.<br /><br />Students in the College of Medicine will be at the information display on the second floor of Baker University Center today to answer questions about HIV/AIDS and give out free condoms to emphasize the importance of safe sex in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.<br /><br />-
and it's good to focus on African-Americans who are the most quickly contracting HIV/AIDS in America
said Merrian Brooks, a second year medical student. <br /><br />Delta Sigma Theta will hold their annual candlelight vigil at College Gate at 6:30 p.m., followed by speaker Anquenette P. Sloan, special projects director for the American Red Cross of Columbus, at 7:30 p.m. in Baker Center Theater. All events are free and open to the public. <br /><br />
Ashley Luthern

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