We have over 1,200 registered student groups on campus. A small portion of those are devoted to raising HIV/AIDS awareness and funding on other continents, namely Africa. Even fewer, if any, are focused on the issue here, in the U.S., in our neighborhoods and communities.
At the activities fair a few weeks ago, I browsed table after table, signing up for mailing list after mailing list. Last year, I spent a lot of time working on my story, trying to communicate the importance and relevance of the fact that HIV is among us, even in the most privileged and sheltered communities. If college is so widely acknowledged as a time of “exploration”, both sexually and otherwise, why isn’t the issue addressed more often on our campus?
As university students, I think we are assumed to have a basic understanding of how the world works, of political parties and tensions, and of the major issues our world confronts. But do we? Sitting in the library, I wonder how many of the students with their heads furiously buried in textbooks around me know the difference between HIV and AIDS … or maybe more importantly, how many of them know their HIV status.
I’m really thankful for efforts to bring this kind of health education to students on campus. This weekend, Stanford is hosting the National FACE AIDS conference. Chapter members from all over the country will flood campus to hear a range of speakers including the medical director of Partners in Health. I can’t wait to hear some interesting discussions, see some excited faces, and feel the hope. I’ll keep you posted 🙂