Prominent Author Encourages Students to ‘Protect Each Other’

FAMU has had 15 registered cases of HIV within the past year. The College of Pharmacy and the Institute of Public Health held its monthly seminar series Thursday evening from noon-1 p.m. Dr. Samuel Frimpong, human services specialist for HIV/AIDS in Duval County, was the guest speaker.

The empty auditorium did not prevent Frimpong from delivering the message on lake of knowledge and Awareness of HIV/AIDS in the black community. With National Black AIDS awareness day on Feb. 7, Frimpong addressed the statistics on HIV among blacks, informed students on biomedical prevention and introduced his new book titled “Let’s Protect Each Other.” 

Frimpong said the majority of AIDS cases are due to the lack of knowledge of prevention and the high cost of treatment. Dr. Frimpong said his first step in correcting the problem of rising AIDS infection rates in the black community is biomedical prevention. Condoms, vaginal gels, male circumcisions and treatments for developing STDs are among the biomedical preventatives available to sexually active African-Americans.

According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, 24 clients reported 327 anonymous sex partners, including cases of heterosexuals, homosexuals and bisexuals. Also, six of the 20 sex partners tested positive for HIV.

“There is a lack of community engagement…we need to engage people in both the workplace as well as in the community,” said Alan Becker, an associate professor in the school of public health and coordinator of the event. “We cannot educate the community if there is a lack in the adequate number of trained health professionals, including pharmacists, epidemiologist, nurses and lab personnel.”

The message about the seminar was publicized with flyers throughout campus as well as a mass message sent to students and faculty through FAMU email accounts.

“One thing that really stuck out to me is that I actually learned something from this seminar,” said public health graduate student Ashley Collins. “I wish there were seminars like this when I attended FAMU for undergrad. It’s sad that more students don’t take advantage of these opportunities.”

Recent studies by Frimpong report that low-income counties like Leon and Duval are twice more likely to get infected with HIV.