Groups Support Safe Sex

GW students organized 2,000 condoms and information booklets into bags in Thurston Hall for a local youth agency Tuesday for AIDS Awareness Week.

The students made the bag for a local youth service agency, the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL), and will be distributed throughout the week.

In addition to the booklets on AIDS and condoms, the bags include information about World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.

“We have 2,000 condoms in total, and we’re supposed to get more,” said junior Brian Miller, president of the Human Services Organization.

Fifteen students attended the event, which was sponsored by the AIDS Awareness Committee of GW, American Medical Students Association and the College Democrats.

Attendees also made AIDS awareness ribbons and created a panel for the AIDS Quilt, which will be displayed during World AIDS Day on the National Mall as a tribute to those who died from and those living with HIV or AIDS.

Stacey Markman, co-chairwoman of the Neighbors Project, a community service effort that brings GW students into the D.C. community, said this year the group is trying to emphasize GW’s participation in AIDS Awareness Week by helping the local community.

“We’ve decided that there have been things done in the past for World AIDS Day, but we wanted to link the GW community to the D.C. community,” Markman said.

By distributing the packets to SMYAL, minority youths and adults who do not have sexual education courses or resources available to them can learn about AIDS prevention, Markman said.

Students from other campus organizations such as the Black Student Union and Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance also attended the event.

Shani George, community service director of the Black Student Union said the BSU wanted to show its support for minorities in communities affected by AIDS.

Students at the event said they feel strongly about helping a local cause.

Freshman Ari Mittleman said he has been involved in AIDS awareness activities for the past few years and wanted to continue helping in college. Although AIDS is a global epidemic, it is important to “act locally and think globally,” Mittleman said.

“The virus spreads exponentially, and if you can infect one mind (through education), there’s one less infection of the blood,” he said.

AIDS awareness events will take place all week. Events include a Town Hall meeting on Thursday with special guests Scott Wolf of the TV show “Party of Five,” who is a GW alumnus, and Miss America 1998 Kate Shindle. Other events offer free HIV testing, volunteer opportunities, a letter-writing campaign and a “Talking about AIDS Workshop” Saturday.

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