People all over the world gathered Dec.1, World AIDS Day, to fight the disease that has killed millions.
According to the Temple Health Empowerment Office, 40.3 million people have died from AIDS as of 2005. Each year in the United States, according to THEO, there are 40,000 new infections. To help educate the public,
World AIDS day was created in 1988 by the World Health Organization.
THEO held a Red Lounge event, which was started last year, calling it an “edutainment” event meant not only to entertain students, but to educate them as well.
Alicia Czachowski, a graduate extern at THEO, said the event, held in the Student Center, teaches students about HIV in Philadelphia and around the world, as well as living with the disease and different HIV/AIDS organizations.
Performers at the event included The Ladies of Elegance step group and various Temple students who performed songs and read poems.
Czachowski said the event was about continuing education about the disease in the Temple community.
“There is a generation of students who grew up never knowing a world without HIV/AIDS. They have been hearing about it since they were children,” Czachowski said.
For the most part, Czachowski said, students at Temple are well-educated and know how to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS, but, she added, there is constantly new information to learn.
“It is important for Temple students to not only know it exists, but to get the information about how to protect themselves, where to get tested, how testing is done and places that support people with HIV,” Czachowski said.
She said that when people have this information, healthy and educated decisions
can be made when it comes to unprotected sex, sharing needles and other risky behavior.
Throughout the year, THEO runs other programs dealing with topics such as sexually transmitted infections and safe sex.
For more information about HIV/AIDS, Czachowski urged students to visit www.temple.edu/theo/hiv.
LeAnne Matlach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.