The Advance-Titan

World AIDS Day aims to educate students

In honor of World AIDS Day on Thursday, UW Oshkosh had activity booths spread around the University designed to educate students about the disease.

World AIDS day was officially declared in 1988 and is dedicated to raising awareness about the spread of HIV infection as well as those who have lost their lives to the disease.

At UWO, there were six locations that students could visit, including Reeve Memorial Union, Halsey Science Center, Clow Social Science Center, Sage Hall, the Student Success Center and Polk Library.

Each booth included different information about AIDS. Students got to learn about how the disease is spread and its complicated history.

Students and faculty from different on-campus organizations, such as the LGBTQ Resource Center the Women’s Center and Titan Life Program were at the booths to engage with students regarding questions they might have about the topic.

Students were to able to go from booth to booth in order to get their World AIDS Day passport stamped, which is a paper with checkboxes of each building on it for easier navigation.

Dylan Bram, Student Advisor for Leadership and Involvement said the intent of World AIDS Day is to bring awareness to students about the disease.

“World AIDS Day is to educate people on a topic that is often overlooked,” Bram said. “The point of today is to spread awareness to students on campus, our table in particular focuses on the myths versus facts about AIDS.”

In the library, students from the LGBTQ Resource Center were present to discuss the worldwide effects of HIV/AIDS.

LGBTQ Resource Center intern Shauna Van Domelen said AIDS is a lot more prevalent than students might think.

“We’re here to show that it’s more than just something that was here in the 80s and 90s and now it’s gone, or that it’s solely in Africa, it’s everywhere,” Van Domelen said. “We’re also here to show how gender affects HIV/AIDS and how that can impact the quality of healthcare one will receive [based on] the treatment you can afford.”

When students got to Clow, they were educated on how they can prevent the spread of the disease.

Assistant Dean of Students Danielle Jones said students need to realize how easily the virus can be introduced to the student population.

“We’re looking at which bodily fluids actually have HIV in them,” Jones said. “We have a matching activity comparing things that can contract [the disease] versus those that cannot.”

Jones said AIDS is a disease often looked down upon in society because of how it’s contracted.

“I think it’s a pretty stigmatized disease and so when we’re talking about various illnesses, it can be hard to talk about and people can be very fearful of it when discussing how it can be contracted,” Jones said. “People won’t know how prevalent it truly is if they’re not willing to talk about it.”

In Sage, students from the Titan Life Program had a Jeopardy game set up for students to test their knowledge of the subject and could win various prizes such as candy and condoms if they answered correctly.

Program Assistant for the Women’s Center Eliza Farrow said it’s important for students to spread awareness about the disease, even if it’s something small.

“Writing something like ‘Know Your Status’ or ‘I Know My Status’ is a good way to start conversation,” Farrow said. “When you wear it, people ask questions and you get a chance to educate others.”

LGBTQ Resource Center Program Assistant Matthew Reinhardt said students don’t realize HIV/AIDS is better understood now than it was 20 years ago.

“The benefit is, those that are HIV positive can still live healthy, productive lives although there is still no cure,” Reinhardt said.
Any student interested in getting tested or learning more about HIV/AIDS can visit the Student Health Center.

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
World AIDS Day aims to educate students