Groups mark AIDS Day

GW students distributed about 6,000 red ribbons Monday and participated in several activities to raise campus awareness during World AIDS Day.

Members of the Student Global AIDS Campaign, Circle K and the CARE Living and Learning Community organized the day-long campaign. Outside the Marvin Center students distributed free condoms along with informational brochures on clinical data and safe sex.

“Tabling was our most effective event,” said sophomore Megan Tackney, a member of the Student Global AIDS Campaign. “If we can educate just one person, that can make a difference.”

About 42 million people globally are infected with HIV, with about 900,000 living in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationally, every 30 minutes someone under the age of 25 is infected with HIV. In D.C., 20- to 29-year-olds account for 15 percent of the people living with AIDS.

“HIV is a growing problem among young people in the U.S.,” said Chip Lewis, media specialist for the Whitman-Walker Clinic. “College students need to know the facts on how to protect themselves.”

About 65 people attended “A Closer Walk,” a movie narrated by actors Glen Close and Will Smith, in Ross Hall Monday night. The film focused on the AIDS epidemic in the United States and overseas.

Student organizers also promoted a national call-in campaign, urging students to telephone the White House and encourage President George W. Bush to give more funding to the global AIDS campaign.

“We have more access to government and policymakers here,” said freshman Julia Masters, an event organizer. “We have the opportunity to educate the people who make the decisions.”

GW students also focused on prejudices that can accompany the disease, passing out flyers that read, “AIDS attacks the body, prejudice attacks the spirit.”

“A lot of people don’t know enough about it … it’s not just a global problem, it’s a national one,” Masters said. “It really does hit close to home.”

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