Student organizations spread HIV/AIDS awareness on campus

Candice Dungan

In honor of Black History Month, Kent State is hosting National Black HIV/AIDS awareness day Tuesday, in conjunction with NAACP, FACE AIDS, Public Health Student Alliance and University Health Services.

“In past years it’s been swept under the rug, but this year there are a lot of posters all over the campus,” said Tom Ream, president of FACE AIDS. “I’m really excited people are realizing this is a pandemic and needs to be talked about even though it’s a scary topic.”

FACE AIDS is a student organization that helps to raise awareness and money for people affected by HIV/AIDS, both in Rwanda and the local community.

To spread awareness of HIV/AIDS, student organizations will provide information at outreach tables on the second floor of the Student Center. Refreshments, tri-color pins and condoms will be provided. Students will also have an opportunity to enter a raffle for a National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day T-shirt.

“I don’t think people understand how big of an epidemic this is,” said Leanna Lampkin, an intern in the Office of Health Promotion. “There are people out there who have no idea of their HIV status at all. They could be carrying it and not even know it so we are stressing the importance of getting educated and getting tested and knowing your HIV status.”

Free and confidential HIV testing will be available Thursday on the second floor of the Kent State Health Center. The Community AIDS Network Akron Pride Initiative will do the testing. Students should make an appointment through the University Health Center to be tested.

Scott Dotterer, Office of Health Promotion coordinator, explains the HIV testing is a confidential and easy process. Dotterer said students will never be asked their name, instead appointments are held by the student’s birth date. The process will take about 15 minutes, where your finger is pricked to draw blood. Students will have their results back within 30 minutes.

“They draw your blood and put it through a test,” Ream said. “It’s that easy.”

Contact Candice Dungan at [email protected].