Bowie State University Marks World AIDS Day
By Brittany Summers
Bowie State University faculty and students paused Dec. 1 to commemorate World AIDS Day, a worldwide celebration that serves as both a memorial to those who have been lost to the disease as well as an opportunity to raise awareness about the global epidemic and its prevention.
The Department of Communications teamed with the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Prevention Center to present an HIV/AIDS awareness program in the Thurgood Marshall Library. Communications professor Dr. Adrian Krishnasamy hosted the event that featured guest speaker Peter Kronenberg, vice president of communications and editor of the newsletter "Positive Voice" of the National Association for People with AIDS (NAPWA).
Krishnasamy opened the event by telling a personal story of a friend he lost to AIDS. The young lady contracted it from her boyfriend and later committed suicide. By this point, the audience was completely drawn in, wanting to hear and learn more about the effects of this powerful disease.
Krishnasamy was followed by Kronenberg who gave the audience a little background of NAPWA and of AIDS. He said that many people think that AIDS no longer exists because the rate of increase in the disease has merely slowed down.
Kronenberg spoke on how many people are misinformed about HIV/AIDS while also providing some shocking statistics and facts. He said that because of the advance in technology and science, people are living longer with HIV and in many cases still passing the virus to others. He also stated that of the people, who get tested, there are about 50 million people in the world living with HIV and 11 million of those people are in the United States.
Some countries such as China and Europe tend to lie about the number of people in their country infected with the virus, Kronenberg said, because it is said to be extremely embarrassing to them. As a result, it is really difficult to know who is infected with the virus and who is not because many people are afraid and ashamed to get tested. With the numbers increasing, Kronenberg said that about one half of the people are heterosexual and about more than half of them are of color.
HIV/AIDS prevention is a social justice issue Kronenberg said, adding that it is usually those individuals who are less fortunate who primarily contract the virus. However, with public education, testing, and support from the government, he said he believes that in the next decade there will be a cure for disease. Until that day, he said everyone must remember to always protect themselves and get tested regularly because HIV/AIDS has no color and does not discriminate.