World AIDS Day teaches HIV awareness and prevention

Chelsea Graff

More than one million people in the United States are HIV positive. Of those living with HIV, approximately one in six are aware of their infection.

Scott Dotterer, the coordinator for the Office of Health Promotion, shared these facts at Kent State as part of World AIDS Day, which is celebrated Dec. 1 each year around the globe.

“Sometimes we become complacent,” Dotterer said. “We’ve heard about HIV and AIDS for so many years, it’s easy to take a cavalier attitude about it or have a perception that ‘Oh that won’t happen to me.’”

Joshua Morgan, the outreach and risk reduction coordinator of Community AIDS Network Akron Pride Initiative, talked about the history of HIV and AIDS.

“A lot of people think that it’s cured, and it’s not,” Morgan said. “I think it’s important because people think, ‘It’s cured, I don’t have to worry about it,’ or a lot of people are taking the mentality now of ‘Oh you know they have so many medications available, it doesn’t really make a difference if I get HIV or AIDS, you know, I’ll just take one pill a day, and I’ll be OK.’ I don’t think people really understand the repercussions of those actions.”

As a repercussion of not taking medicine and being HIV positive, the body breaks down, and HIV can turn into AIDS, Morgan said.

Morgan listed the ways people can protect themselves from HIV and AIDS in his presentation:


-Condom and other barrier usage

-Monogamy with a trusted partner after both parties have been tested

“I had a family member who was affected by it and eventually passed away from it,” freshman pre-nursing major Alex Wiandt said. “It’s really helpful for me to learn causes and background of it.”

Morgan performs free HIV and AIDS testing on campus, and there are two different types of preliminary testing for HIV: the OraQuick and the Clearview.

The OraQuick can either be tested with a mouth swab or a blood sample and generates results in 20 minutes. The Clearview is a blood sample that takes 10-15 minutes for results.

There is no cure for HIV, and it can often be undetectable, Morgan said. Currently, there is a vaccine in phase one of a clinical study.

Contact Chelsea Graff at [email protected].