HIV testing, info kick off AIDS week

David Yochum

Sarah Hallsky had the concept.

Then she got support for her idea from more than a dozen organizations.

But without a trip to Sam’s Club, the graduate assistant could’ve had trouble planning Kent State’s World AIDS Week.

“We needed to purchase 5,000 condoms and sandwich bags,” she said. “I don’t think there’s anywhere else where you could buy that much and not get strange looks.”

Sponsored by Habitat for Humanity, Circle K and a host of campus organizations, World AIDS Week begins today with free, anonymous HIV testing provided by DeWeese Health Center. The informative health week continues with a Rathskeller Sex Show, relationship forum, award-winning speaker and AIDS walk, before wrapping up Saturday with the movie Philadelphia in Eastway plaza.

T-shirts and games are also available on the second floor of the Student Center, giving students a chance to win gift cards for places such as Rockne’s, Campus Book and Supply or Starbucks gift baskets.

Hallsky said the week teaches students about AIDS and how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, with games serving as skill-building exercises.

“We need to raise action, not just awareness,” Hallsky said.

Putting students under pressure, games such as “Pin the Dental Dam on the Vagina” and “Groping in the Dark” illustrate how difficult it can be to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

“For ‘Groping in the Dark,’ students are blindfolded, spun around and will try to properly put a condom on a prosthetic penis,” Hallsky explained. “Another game will have a condom filled with a gallon of water, then students will test which lubricants will break it, because oil-based lubricants break a condom down.”

Christopher Taylor, vice president of All-Campus Programming Board, will be helping to assemble a student-made, World AIDS Day quilt throughout the week, which will then be displayed in the Student Center.

Bringing experience with the Columbus AIDS Task Force, Kat Rybski, PRIDE!Kent programming chair, looks to contribute to AIDS Week as well.

“I want to make people realize AIDS can affect everyone,” she said.

Contact minority affairs reporter David Yochum at [email protected].