FAMU joins Test 1 Million initiative

 Florida A&M University has teamed up with the Black AIDS Institute in the Test 1 million Campaign.  The initiative’s aim is to test 1 million black for HIV/AIDS by June 27, 2010. 

According to the Black AIDS Institute Web Site, this campaign builds upon the National Black AIDS Mobilization: a call to action to engage all of Black America, from individuals to institutions, in a community-wide effort to end the AIDS epidemic.

The Test 1 Million movement is one of awareness, personal responsibility, and collective action.

Kianta Key, health communications specialist for FAMU Health, said she believes it is very important for FAMU to be involved in a program like this. 

“I thought if FAMU could educate students of color in the fields of business, arts and science, then why couldn’t we educate students about being responsible adults when it comes to sex,” Key said. 

She said this initiative has been going on since October 2008.  Phil Wilson, the founder and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, initially introduced Key to the program at the Essence Music Festival.

Key also said she hopes the campaign will evolve into something big on FAMU’s campus. 
She wants the initiative to be looked at as an obligation for people of color, something more than just an extracurricular activity.  Key said the ideal situation would be President Ammons, student leaders, student organizations and the surrounding community to rally in support of the initiative. 

Students like Ashley Gray, 20, a junior pharmacy candidate from Fort Lauderdale, are excited about the initiative and optimistic that the target goal will be reached. 

“I think it is a great idea,” Gray said.  “It is possible and I think they will reach the goal.”
According to Key, the best ways to prevent HIV/AIDS, outside of being abstinent, is to wear a condom, consider monogamous relationships to minimize your chance of infection and to get tested every six months.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, blacks make up 13 percent of the U.S. population but represent nearly half of the percentage of those infected by HIV in the United States.

Students who have been tested can log onto www.blackaids.orgto become a part of the 1 Million Campaign.

As an official Test 1 Million affiliate, students will be eligible to request the institute’s support for Test 1 Million co-branded materials and for speakers for local events. 
FAMU student health services offers free HIV testing every day from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. They also provide free condoms. FAMU is currently the only university involved as a partner in the initiative.