Alcorn’s Health and Disability Services celebrate World AIDS Day

Students, faculty and staff at Alcorn State University have taken the pledge to fight against the AIDS virus.

Health and Disability Services, along with the Alcorn H.E.R.O.S. (Helping Everyone Receive Ongoing Effective Support) and the Alcorn alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., celebrated World AIDS Day 2015 Tuesday, Dec. 1 in Rowan Hall and the Clinton Bristow Dining Facility Lobby. The day consisted of offering free HIV testing, awareness of the virus, conducting a deciding moment photo booth and the signing of a Stop HIV Pledge wall.

Dorothy Jackson Davis, director of Health and Disability Services, gave some facts about the virus and stressed the importance of getting tested.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 1.2 million people in the United States living with the HIV infection and 1 in 8 people are not aware they have HIV,” said Davis. “Knowing your HIV status is extremely important in order to link individuals to the proper care and resources for them to live a healthier life and minimizes the spread of the infection.”

Davis also gives valuable tips on how to avoid contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

“Having knowledge of how HIV is transmitted and steps that can be taken to avoid the risk of transmission is key. We promote abstinence, but if students are going to engage in sexual intercourse, we encourage the use of condoms and dental dams. Avoiding risky behaviors such as alcohol and drug use and having multiple partners are also means of protecting. We strongly encourage students to get tested and ask their partners to get tested as well.”

Ashley Green, a senior, biology major and member of the ASU H.E.R.O.S., gave her thoughts on regular STD testing and safe sexual practices.

“Everyone needs to know their status. People are affected everyday by HIV and AIDS and we’re trying to help stop the virus by offering awareness and encouraging safe sex,” said Ashley.

Valerie Thompson, who is the dean of University College at Alcorn and an alumnae member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., also spoke on the importance of getting tested and reassured those living with the virus that they are cared about.

“We want to inform the Alcorn community that AIDS awareness is very important because we need to protect ourselves,” said Thompson. “Knowing your status is the key to avoiding the possible spreading of the virus. We want those living with the virus to know that there are people who support you. Surround yourself with people who will help you with their positive attitudes and encouraging words.”

The Alcorn H.E.R.O.S. was acknowledged on for their participation as ambassadors for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

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