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HIV/AIDS vigil focuses on prevention

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The Daily Campus Online Edition

HIV/AIDS vigil focuses on prevention

Students remember disease’s impact, renew hope for future

Kate Monahan

Issue date: 12/5/08

 Nick Gwiazda, a member of a cappella group Shir Modulation, sings Thursday night at the HIV/AIDS vigil at the Student Union. The event, meant to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic worldwide, also featured the all-female a cappella group the Chordials.

Media Credit: Kevin McQuade
Nick Gwiazda, a member of a cappella group Shir Modulation, sings Thursday night at the HIV/AIDS vigil at the Student Union. The event, meant to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic worldwide, also featured the all-female a cappella group the Chordials.

UConn Health Education held an AIDS vigil Thursday night to “promote awareness of HIV/AIDS and the effect it has on the community locally, nationally, and worldwide,” according their Web site.

Joleen Nevers, Health Education coordinator, and Erika Howe, World AIDS week coordinator, worked together to organize the event and incorporate other student organizations in fundraising for HIV prevention and to help people infected with the disease.

The UConn Chordials and Shir Modulation a cappella groups sang reflective pieces like Gavin Degraw’s “Meaning,” and The Beatles’ “Blackbird.” Afterwards, those in attendance headed to the UConn seal on Fairfield Way with red glow bracelets to have a moment of silence to honor those impacted by the HIV and AIDS. Along the way, a musical triangle was hit every one new person infected with HIV every12 seconds.

Since Dec. 1 was World AIDS day, organizers devoted the week to spreading awareness and HIV prevention across the UConn Campus. Howe, a 3rd-semester exploratory major and coordinator of UConn’s World AIDS week, hoped the vigil would “recognize and acknowledge those who are currently affected with it [HIV], or those who are affected by it.”

The main proceeds from the vigil are going to Ashford’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, which helps children with HIV and other terminal illnesses.

The vigil started in the Student Union’s Art for AIDS gallery, which had many AIDS-related student art pieces. According to Nevers, these were easy to obtain, as many students want to raise awareness on such an important issue.

Liberty Pandey, a public health graduate student, worked at a table of HIV/AIDS related informative pamphlets and preventative kits during the vigil. The table had Hershey Kisses, red ribbons, abstinence kits, and safe sex goodie bags, condoms, as well as a plethora of informative pamphlets like the “Stall Street News.” Beaded ribbon-shaped pins made in Africa were sold, with the proceeds going to people affected by HIV and AIDS. Donations were also accepted.

Pandey listed many facts and figures about AIDS during the vigil, such as Connecticut ranking eighth in the rate of AIDS cases reported in 2005, and that 50 percent of new people infected with HIV were under the age of 25. She also said that there have been over 15,000 cases of AIDS in Connecticut since 1980, and noted that there are approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV in the US and 33 million are infected worldwide.

Nevers hopes the World AIDS week events such as the vigil will provide awareness to students, and give them the resources for getting free rapid HIV testing and contact information for state testing centers at the Health Center and Rainbow Center.

Web reference:

http://healthed.uconn.edu/world_aids_week.html

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

December 5, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Posted in Varieties in English

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