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‘Ignorance’ continues on worldwide AIDS/HIV issues

December 11th, 2010 Posted in Arts and Life

Story & Photos by Ty Rogers

LOGAN—“Ignorance is bliss,” said USU Access and Diversity Center intern Earnest Cooper during a panel discussion of World AIDS Day last week.

HIV and AIDS affect over 40 million people worldwide, and 7,000 more people every day, the panelists said. A global issue that large can not be resolved overnight.

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“I don’t think I will see it eradicated in my life, but I want to see it start to decline,” said Joyce Mumah, a doctoral student whose research focuses on HIV and AIDS in West Africa.

World AIDS Day is observed annually on Dec. 1. USU’s observance included the panel and information booths in the TSC Ballroom, as well as free HIV testing at the Student Wellness Center.

Free condoms, stickers, pamphlets, and candy were also handed out in an effort to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS.

Mumah and Cooper believe that there are many misconceptions about the virus. USU students can be somewhat inflexible on issues of HIV and AIDS, because most of them don’t see it as a threat in Utah, the panelists said.

Among the misconceptions about the epidemic is that HIV and AIDS occurs primarily among gays, which the panel said is untrue.

The incidence of HIV worldwide and in Utah continues to rise, they said, so something needs to be done to help make people more aware of the epidemic.

“There shouldn’t be just World AIDS Day,” Cooper said, “there needs to be something else. There needs to be more education available.”

The event was sponsored by the Black Student Union (BSU), the African Students Association (AFSA) and Voices of Planned Parenthood (VOX). USU clubs L.I.F.E. and Amnesty International also had booths set up to help raise awareness.

“HIV is a human issue and that’s why you should care,” said Mumah.


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