Since the emergence of the disease 30 years ago, more than 30 million people have died and twice as many have contracted HIV. World AIDS Day is held on December 1st each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. Unfortunately, it is still a problem that people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV. World AIDS Day is important as it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away and there is still a vital need to educate and raise awareness.
HIV can be passed on through infected bodily fluids, most commonly via sex without a condom or by sharing infected needles, syringes or other injecting drug equipment. Over 90% of people with HIV were infected through sexual contact. This is a scary fact for college students. At a period in life were sexuality seems to be explored frequently, it is crucial for students to understand the risks of irresponsible sexual behavior. Condoms are 85%-95% effective in preventing HIV transmissions. Testing for HIV and any STD’s should also be common practice for those that are sexually active. HIV is usually tested through blood samples, and can now be tested using a saliva sample. You can get the results of an HIV test in just 15-20 minutes. Just 15-20 minutes of your life can increase your awareness and hopefully influence the awareness of those around you. I am glad that orgs in the University promoted awareness of AIDS. Sex S.Y.M.B.A.L.S and the Archias Chapter of Lambda Sigma Upsilon held a World AIDS Day Vigil outside of Hendricks’s Chapel and distributed red ribbons throughout the day at the Schine Student Center. But AIDS is not something that can be acknowledged once a year; it is something that we need to recognize all year round. Stay educated, be aware, and protect yourself.
By Samantha Saunion