Dec 2, 2008

World AIDS Day [Week]

Hmm, where to start...

-Yesterday was World AIDS Day.
-WAD is an international day of awareness.
-I'll spare you the facts, Google "World AIDS Day and stats" to learn more.
-Instead of a day, we observe this event with a week of activities.
-Back in August (at our regional conference), we met DeVondia Roseborogh.
-She's amazing!

She found out she was positive at age 32 with a t-cell count of only 19 (normal is 500-1500). After only five years of being positive DeVondia founded her own nonprofit and has been changing lives all over the state through various programs and speaking engagements.

We had her come speak last night and she's awesome! We took her to lunch when she arrived and had a great time. She certainly has a story and a message for everyone. After the speaking part of last night we all shared a meal thanks to Sr. Santiago who made the most fantstic Puerto Rican food ever!

Today we passed out red ribbons, stickers, condoms, and tshirts on the university campus. We had about 300-500 students stop by, they had to answer one correct question in order to receive their tshirt. I was shocked by how little they knew about HIV and AIDS. I learned that I take for granted that I work in this part of public health and hence tend to know a lot about it... I wrongly assume that most people know at least a little bit. But all in all it was a great day (aside from the freezing temp!).

Tomorrow we have a panel discussion with four people living with HIV, a doctor, a church leader, and a person who is affected but is not infected with HIV. Should be an interesting night. We prepared goody bags for each of the panelists to thank them for their time, I hope they like them, they're fun!

Thursday, we'll be doing rapid testing on campus. This will be the first time we've incorporated testing in the week of events. We typically save big events for National HIV Testing Day [Week] or to do on their own so it should be interesting to see how many people we have come out.

I have lots more to write about but this will do it for World AIDS Day [Week] stuff... It's only Tuesday and I'm already tired... great week so far though!

And for anyone wanting to do something about HIV/AIDS around the world - check out Product Red. Just keep in mind that your dollars will go MUCH FURTHER by contributing directly to an organization as these products only send up to half of the amount to the cause. I think it's a great concept but I worry that the advertisting dollars to get the campaign off to a roaring start could have been spent directly on HIV/AIDS projects. We'll see how it all ends up in the long run. It truly is a great idea and I have a few Product Red things but only because I liked the product, not because I wanted to give. If you just want to give, give direct. If you want something to buy, but Product Red! :) Happy WORLD AIDS WEEK!

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"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I'm afraid God would ask me the same question."
You don't change the world by trying to change the world; you change the world by changing yourself.
-Gerry Straub