Celebration gives AIDS local attention

On Monday there was a party on the Set. It wasn’t your usual party with people dancing and loud music echoing throughout the campus. FAMU was celebrating life.

From noon until 3 p.m. students, faculty and representatives from Leon and Gadsden counties observed World AIDS Day.

The celebration of saving lives featured guest speakers who are living with HIV/AIDS, live performances from the Strikers, Mahogany and Intensity Productions, skits and information booths.

The event was coordinated by Maria Okeke and FAMU health coordinator Monique Potter.

According to Okeke, one of the major goals of Monday’s events was to educate students about HIV/AIDS in a timely and effective manner.

“We realize that there is a need to educate our young people about the means to prevent HIV infection and maintaining and improving their health status has never been more urgently needed than now,” said Okeke.

Currently there are 42 billion people with AIDS globally. In Florida alone 1 in 50 blacks is infected with HIV/AIDS. This was just some of the large amount of information given out during the event.

South Africa is the most infected country in the world.

According to information reported by the Associated Press, the South African government reported the results of a study on Thursday that said AIDS is the leading killer of women in South Africa.

According to the study, the risk for contracting HIV is higher for South African women than men because women do not have control of their sexual relationships and are more vulnerable biologically.

Last year AIDS-related illnesses accounted for about 9.8 percent of deaths among the female population.

Some South African natives feel education and funding for research is increasing with the spread of AIDS.

“Some of my acquaintances and colleagues in Africa told me that more money is being pulled into the situation than there was a few years ago,” said Mitwe Musingo, professor and graduate coordinator for CESTA.

“They are educating young girls on sex and so forth. They told me that there have been speakers to talk to them about abstinence,” Musingo said.

Health educators like Okeke continue to strive to educate students and the world about an epidemic that is continuously taking away the worlds greatest gift, life.

“AIDS is an equal opportunity killer with millions of people infected all over the world,” Okeke said.

“We should not leave any stone unturned in the fight against HIV/AIDS and other STD’s destroying the fabric of our society.”