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World Aids Day comes to VSU early

World Aids Day is coming to an end but VSU made sure to celebrate it before the Thanksgiving break to help spread awareness about it to college students.

VSU Campus Wellness partnered with the Department of Public Health to celebrate World Aids Day by showing “The Ryan White Story” on Nov. 1 with popcorn and drinks. The movie explores a young boy’s experience with AIDS that he contracted through a routine blood transfusion.

According to the Healthline website, around 1.1 million Americans have AIDS. HIV/AIDS is contracted sexually or through using unclean needles. Those who are diagnosed with AIDS had HIV that caused their immune system to break down and be unable to fight infections. Those diagnosed experience flu-like symptoms and extreme weight loss, and it affects the entire body. This condition can be potentially life-threatening.Recognizing World AIDS Day is important for college students and watching the Ryan White film was a starting point for that, according to Althea Daniels with the Department of Public Health.

The film “would be able to resound with several people as far as HIV and HIV awareness,” she said.

Daniels also explained that “The Ryan White Story” kicked off many of the HIV/AIDS organizations and support groups.

“We wanted to show people what story started the ball rolling on HIV programs in general,” Daniels said.

She said that she wanted students as well as other Public Health employees to understand their “origin story” for the AIDS programs.

VSU gives students opportunities to get free HIV tests on campus. Campus Wellness days and other health fairs that are commonly tied to Greek organizations encourage students to get tested for HIV.

“We are trying to reach for different groups of students with different demographics to make sure all students have the accessibility that they need…to be safe,” Daniels said.

While Daniels said that VSU has one of the lowest percentages of students diagnosed with AIDS, she still expressed the importance of students being careful.Practicing safe sex, among all sexual orientations, is always an effective way to prevent HIV/AIDS. It is important for any couple to use condoms that fit properly and use a new one every time they have sex.

This alone can prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Although Daniels said that “only about two students per year are tested positive for AIDS,” taking the proper precautions and safety tips can be the solution to a life-changing diagnosis.

Written by Logan Gullage, Staff Writer. Photos Courtesy of  Flickr. 

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