“If you wear a condom you can’t get it, right?”
BY HANA KAJIMURA
Hana Kajimura is a freshman at Stanford University. We want to hear more student perspectives on the issue of Safe Sex Education on YOUR campuses. Please comment on this blog to share.
A couple times every day, as I walk down the hallway of my dorm on the way to class or to the dining hall, I walk past my RA’s (resident assistant) or PHE’s (peer health educator) room. These are the upperclassmen carefully screened and placed in the dorms to help us little freshman with the ins and outs of college life. One of the first things I noticed, and applauded, about all the freshman dorms on campus were the bowls of candy and condoms outside these designated rooms.
Still, while safe sex is integrated into dorm curriculum and talked about often, HIV/AIDS specifically, is not. Even on world AIDS day, when there was a table handing out red ribbon pins at the center of campus, the issue goes unnoticed. So it is always refreshing to hear the topic brought up casually over a meal, as some friends did the other day. “It’s weird to think that people on this campus have HIV,” said a friend. By no means do I consider myself an expert on the subject, but I do know that young people (ages 13-24) represent a substantial amount of new HIV cases every year. “If you wear a condom you can’t get it, right?”
In a place of “higher education,” a large proportion of young people are minimally concerned about the possibility of HIV infection. Often times, it is an after thought. Education is an integral part of the answer to almost every problem. Education leads to lower levels of poverty, higher economic viability, female empowerment, and lower incidence of HIV. This emphasis on education, both sexual and otherwise, is equally important in US high schools and college campuses.
The good news: We can all help to educate! A simple way to do this is by wearing your bracelet everyday. Education starts with awareness. The more people become aware of HIV/AIDS, the more they will talk about it to become educated and to educate others.
Thank you for listening to my perspective. I invite you to share my thoughts and to express your own with people you know.