Campus group braves cold to raise AIDS awareness

Allen Hines

Fifty-five sets of clothing covered the ground in Risman Plaza to represent the number of individuals between 15 and 24 years old who are diagnosed with HIV every day.

Health honorary Eta Sigma Gamma set up the “bodyless die-in” to raise awareness of the virus, the group’s president Colin Dean said. The action precedes World AIDS Awareness Day tomorrow.

Jared Matthews, freshman political science and history major, and Antonique Ingraham, senior community health education major, staffed the event’s information table in the cold. Both said they had been busy — Matthews said he talked to 15 students in half an hour, and Ingraham said she talked to 30 in three hours.

The clothing was collected through Eta Sigma Gamma’s ongoing clothing donation drive for Violet’s Cupboard, an Akron-based outreach center for invididuals with HIV/AIDS.

Lacola Pierce, sophomore family

counseling and foster care major, said prevention is important to her. Her 20-year-old cousin has AIDS and takes a lot of medications, she said. She had a child after contracting the disease, but the child will be healthy. Pierce also said her cousin has trouble entering serious relationships for fear of infecting her partner.

The honorary asked people who came to the information table to sign petitions promoting comprehensive sex education, instead of abstinence-only. Another petition called for more funding for sex education in Africa.

Following a presentation on AIDS by professor Diane Kerr in the Kiva, Eta Sigma Gamma launched an advocacy march to Front Campus, which drew 11 people. At the end of the march, participants painted a red ribbon on the rock near Main Street as another step in raising AIDS awareness.

Contact College of Education, Health and Human Services reporter Allen Hines at [email protected].