AIDS awareness could save lives

AIDS is no longer a distant disease only affecting struggling African nations. It’s no longer the “gay man’s disease.” It’s no longer something that can be pushed under a rug or under satin sheets for that matter. AIDS has traveled across the ocean, crawled from under the covers and refused to discriminate against sexual orientation, race or gender.

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day 109 people contract HIV.

It is estimated that 1 in 50 black men, 1 in 160 black women and 1 in 3 gay black men are infected with AIDS.

The numbers make you think, but imagine talking with someone living with the disease, someone infected because a condom broke and another because her mother was an intravenous drug user. It’s disheartening.

AIDS is real and so is HIV. It doesn’t just affect people on TV, it affects young people just like the students of this university, students with a whole life ahead of them.

As we as a university, nation and world embark upon another World AIDS Day we must reflect upon what the day really means. It’s not about feeling sorry for those who have fallen victim to the epidemic; it’s about realizing that the epidemic is headed straight for us and that we can make a difference.

We must protect ourselves. If it means abstinence, so be it.

But taking into account the realization that many college students are having sex, let’s be safe. Wrap it up, turn on the lights and protect yourself. Your life is at stake.

Loss of leaders will not benefit the people

Moral values shook out the results of this year’s recent presidential election from the polling booths. But the effect of its quake is still being felt. Family virtues and overall good wholesomeness played a key role in the blitz of resignations that occurred Tuesday.

While both men cited that their reason for leaving was to spend more time with their families, they stepped down from key positions.

Kweisi Mfume was the first of the two to announce his leaving from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People as president. While he remains adamant about family being his reason for leaving, critics continue to speculate that it has something to do with the NAACP’s internal conflict over maintaining its tax-exempt status.

The organization is currently under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service due to what may have been partisan comments made by NAACP Chairman Julian Bond this summer in criticism of President Bush.

While Mfume is to be commended for restoring the civil rights organization from fiscal instability, it is time for a new leader to take the reigns and put it back on the path of activism. His nine years as spearhead of the NAACP have been served well in the financial sector of the organization but improvement is still needed. Membership is stagnant and so are the efforts that have been made in fighting for the people that the NAACP serves.

However, a leader that hasn’t served much of a significant purposed except for increasing national debt also resigned. Tom Ridge, Homeland Security chief, announced his exit for much of the same reasons as Mfume.

As the first person to serve in his newly established post-911 position, his term was riddled with criticism over the color coded levels of terrorist threat to the American public.

But despite Ridge’s shortcomings, leadership in his position is essential.

Times have become more pressing so the presence of steadfast leaders are desperately needed. Hopefully the right persons will step up to take the positions from which Mfume and Ridge have stepped down.