AIDS slowly killing community, but not enough people get tested

Tuesday evening’s attempt to educate the campus about AIDS should have packed Lee Hall – and for a little while, it did. That is, until students had met the requirements set before them by their teachers and the seats around me began to empty.

I don’t know if any of you who left know this – and maybe you would have if you’d stayed – but AIDS is real and killing members of the black community daily.

According to, AIDS is more than real, it’s a pandemic.

When we had nothing but the Strikers and talent shows filling the seats in Lee Hall, there were complaints from the student body that SGA was not challenging us to think and was not providing us with information and speakers that stimulated our minds. But when they do bring people of caliber and intellectual integrity to our campus, we disrespect them by leaving early and not turning off our cell phones.

Why do we have to be given an incentive to learn or to expand our minds?

When I was in elementary school and the other kids were paid for the As and Bs they made, my mother made it more than clear to me that I should not be rewarded for something that is expected of me or for something I should want to do.

We are all in college, a place of higher education. But has it occurred to anyone that higher education can happen outside the classroom or beyond the inside of a book?

Let’s be real people. Chances are that the person you were sitting next to in Lee Hall was infected with the disease. In 2004, blacks accounted for 43 percent of the 415,193 cases that were reported, which means that at least 178,533 people were infected.

And then to make it so bad, I found out that for some students, there is a stigma attached to on-campus testing. In the attempt to share with my colleagues what I’d learned and to inform them about the on-campus testing, I had a co-worker say she wasn’t going to be tested because she didn’t want to be tested in a public place.

Are you serious?

Whether you get tested in a clinic, on-campus or in the middle of the Set on a Friday, knowing is critical to the survival of the black community, yet many of us choose not to know our status.

I encourage – I urge – each of you to get tested. You can’t treat a problem if you don’t know one exists.

We are all positive, until proven negative. I know my status, do you?