Programming aims to spread AIDS awareness

Adam Griffiths

Every eight seconds someone in the world is infected with HIV.

Every 11 seconds someone dies from complications related to AIDS infection.

Dianne Kerr, associate professor and director of health education and promotion, cited these statistics as she explained the speech she’s giving this afternoon about the pandemic that has taken more than 25 million lives in the past 27 years.

World AIDS Awareness Day Events

9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Die-In display

Risman Plaza

Sponsored by Eta Sigma Gamma

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Information Table

Second floor of the Student Center

Sponsored by University Health Services and the Office of Health Promotion

3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“World AIDS Day 2007: Update and Call to Action”

Kiva

Presented by Dianne Kerr

4 p.m.

HIV/AIDS Advocacy March

Departs from the Kiva

Sponsored by Eta Sigma Gamma

7:30 p.m.

Film screening of And The Band

Played On

Kiva

Sponsored by Circle K International &

Programming for World AIDS Awareness Day begins at 9 a.m. with a Die-In. Fifty-five bodies made out of donated clothing collected by Eta Sigma Gamma will be on display at Risman Plaza. The outfits represent the 55 Americans ages 15 to 25 who are diagnosed with HIV every day, said Colin Dean, senior health and physical education major and president of Eta Sigma Gamma.

“Everyone is well aware of HIV/AIDS,” Dean said. “All too often it’s seen or portrayed that it doesn’t affect us when in fact we are extremely susceptible to it.”

The collected clothes will be donated to Violet’s Cupboard, a non-profit Akron-based organization that provides assistance to those living with HIV.

University Health Services and the Office of Health Promotion will continue to sponsor an information table from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second floor of the Student Center. Eta Sigma Gamma will also distribute information packets and condoms outside at the Die-In display.

Kerr will present her speech, “World AIDS Day 2007: Update and Call to Action,” at 3 p.m. in the Kiva. The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is “Keeping the Promise: Leadership.” Kerr said she hopes to increase awareness of the lack of concern from international leaders in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.

“A lot of the leaders are not doing what they’ve promised to do, whether it be not sticking to their budget and not giving enough funding or still being in denial,” Kerr said.

Directly following Kerr’s presentation, an HIV/AIDS advocacy march, sponsored by Eta Sigma Gamma, will depart from the Kiva. Dean said the group will travel up University Esplanade and end by painting the rock on Front Campus to raise awareness.

“It’s nice to follow up on traditions, especially traditions that have been successful in the past,” Dean said.

To conclude the evening, Circle K International is sponsoring a screening of And The Band Played On at 7:30 p.m. in the Kiva. The 1993 film, a critical success when it first aired on HBO, follows the development of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. Cassie Marks, senior management major and president of Circle K International, said the group will also be handing out red AIDS awareness ribbons at the event.

“One of the principles of Circle K is to realize mankind’s potential,” Marks said. “We feel like doing things that promote awareness of events around the world to achieve that goal is important.”

Kerr said she hopes students come away from this year’s World AIDS Awareness Day wanting to do something to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.

“I hope to make them laugh, make them cry – make them want to do something and show leadership on a small scale,” she said. “I hope that somehow they’ll be moved to action.”

Contact health and medicine reporter Adam Griffiths at [email protected]