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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Second Annual AIDS Event

Did you know that and estimated 886,575 Americans have been diagnosed with AIDS from the beginning of the epidemic through 2002?

The Advocacy Resource for Modern Survival (ARMS) Center organized its second annual AIDS event this past Wednesday, December 1 on the third floor of the Wheatley building to help better inform people on this topic.

The event included the participation of guest speaker Michelle Arthur, member in staff for the AIDS Action Commission. Arthur has had HIV since 1996 and spoke about how she had to accept the fact that she was infected. “Michelle spoke at last year’s event, she hit home to a lot of people, that is why I welcomed her back,” said Daphnie Armand, Coordinator for the ARMS Center.

Students present seemed to be very interested on what she had to say. “I was afraid in the beginning, but not today,” said Arthur. She has been in therapy and has had a lot of support from family and friends. “It is normal to be afraid, you don’t realize what you are doing until you have done it,” added Arthur. She advised students to never go alone to get tested or for counseling. Support is very important in these cases because, “You have to look out for suicidal people that may not take the results well,” said Arthur. She also said she is living a normal life; just eating right, taking her medication, and providing help to others who are infected and afraid.

Although free testing was supposed to be provided at the event, because of miscommunication with the Whittier Health Center, it was not done. “Last year we provided free testing and the number of students who came for it was unbelievable, we didn’t expect that many people,” said Armand. The flow of students coming to the event for the testing was non-stop, however Armand did take down interested students contact information to keep them informed about next semester’s event. “The Whittier Health Center has confirmed it will provide at least one hundred tests next semester for sure,” added Armand.

Putting the event together was possible thanks to the collaboration of Steven Boubert, Assistant Coordinator for the ARMS Center and Asjah Monroe from Survivors Inc. The event was also co-sponsored by The Queer Student Center, The Alcohol and Addiction center and The Veterans Center.

Armand thought the outcome of the event was well because students had their queries answered and were informed about the epidemic. Speakers also reinforced the fact that AIDS cannot be transmitted by hugging, touching, or talking to people that have the HIV virus. There has to be some kind of blood contact or sexual activity in order to spread the virus.

It is also important for everyone to know that AIDS is an epidemic that effects all people without taking notice of their age, color, sex, or preferences. “We are still in denial as a society, we think that getting it [AIDS] will never happen to us, but you never know, all it takes is that one wrong person,” added Armand.

It is very important to know your HIV status to protect yourself and others.To learn more visit the HIV/AIDS Observance Days Web site at: www.omhrc.gov/hivaidsobservances. You can also call the National AIDS Hotline at 800-342-AIDS or simply contact your doctor or other health care provider.