Election eclipses AIDS Day rallies

Rallies at the Supreme Court and cold weather put a damper on GW’s participation in Friday’s World AIDS Day 2000 event.

Featured speakers, including D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, failed to show and student attendance was noticeably low at two events promoted throughout campus.

We put ads in The GW Hatchet and we put fliers in residence halls but (students) still didn’t come, said Isabel Goldenberg, director of Student Health Services.

A rally on the third floor of the Marvin Center drew about 20 people, which included mostly University staff and event speakers.

Similar to national commemorations, GW’s rally centered on AIDS awareness and safe sex.

The event marked the launch of a new telephone hotline to help people locate places to get tested for HIV and AIDS. Metro TeenAIDS – an advocacy and support network – partnered with GW Student Health to create the hotline, (202) HIV-TEST.

202 HIV-TEST will make it easier to get tested and get some questions answered in the process, said Lori Swain, executive director of Metro TeenAIDS.

The kick-off assembly featured experts in the field of AIDS research and detection, including leading physicians from GW’s Medical Center.

But problems with the assembly were not limited to attendance – the phone line was not functioning for part of the day.

The Global Health Council sponsored the World AIDS Day Rally at Lafayette Park in front of the White House.

Literature promoting the rally advertised the Rev. Jesse Jackson as a speaker and an expected turnout of more than 200 people. But fewer than 100 people attended – only a handful from GW – and Jackson failed to show. Instead, Jackson joined protests outside the Supreme Court Friday.

There are a lot more adults than I thought would be here, said freshman Cara Muldoon, who attended the rally. I really wish there were more students.

Nils Daulaire, the president of the Global Health Council, said he did not understand why anyone would prefer to attend the Supreme Court rally.

They’re fighting about votes, he told sign-touting crowd. We’re fighting about lives.

Rep. Connie Morella (R-Md.), who attended the White House rally, said that she did not think the event was muddled by the events at the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court’s hearing is one of a limited duration, she said. Our fight goes on.

D.C. adolescents suffer the highest rate of adolescent HIV infection in the nation, according to literature distributed by Metro TeenAIDS.

From 1996 to 1997, there was a 60 percent increase in the number of reported AIDS cases among D.C.’s adolescent females and a 45 percent increase among adolescent males.

GW offers students HIV/AIDS tests, Student Health Outreach Coordinator Susan Haney said.

Student Health has given more than 60 tests for the disease since September.

Each year we do more and more testing, she said.

The test costs $50. Free testing will be available in early January. Students interested in getting tested can call Student Health Services for more information.

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