The steps of Florida A&M University’s lee Hall was painted red as rattlers pulled out their red kicks in support of HIV/AIDS during an event entitled, Kick HIV and AIDS on Friday.
HIV Test Coordinator Randy Henley put together the event and admitted to wanting to try something new and different this year.
“This year we thought we’ll do something different than our normal candlelight vigil and press conference, which cater to the older crowd. We thought we’d do something for our younger crowd that involves social media and fashion,” said Henley.
Students not only wore red shoes but some came out in red shorts, red ribbons and bright red lipstick.
Students gathered around Henley as he educated them on the importance of getting tested, the importance of practicing safe sex and to ask their partners questions about their status before engaging in sexual activity.
The Bond Health Center was also in attendance and administered free testing to FAMU students. Bond Health Clinic, Health Care specialist Darius Lightsey, shared what he would like the student body of FAMU to know about HIV/AIDS.
“A lot of folks like to believe HIV is under control, but in actuality it is running rapid,” Lightsey added. “Don’t think that it can’t happen to you. It is mainly happening to the people who are the same age of students at FAMU, ages 18–27.”
FAMU’s Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Upsilon Psi chapter came out to support the cause and to get educated.
Omega Psi Phi fraternity member Steven Kelley-Forbes said that he would personally like to see people taking the time to know their status, instead of assuming they know.
“I’d like to see more people actually being honest with themselves and going out to get tested, because it is a larger issue and you never really know if you have it,”Kelly-Forbes said.
According to Capital City Aids Network, on average, 134 people in Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor and Wakulla Counties were diagnosed with HIV in 2013 and an average of 60 people were diagnosed with AIDS.
Records show that males contract HIV 3.6 times more than females and they contract AIDS 2.2 times more than females.
From 2004-2013, HIV cases among blacks increased by six percent, while other ethnicities remained the same or dropped.
For free rapid testing, students can contact the FAMU Health Clinic at 850 599-3710. Students can also contact the Tallahassee Bond Community Health Center at 850 576 -6849.