NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is helping to educate students about HIV/AIDS and how they can protect themselves from the virus.
On Tuesday, Feb. 7, the university, in partnership with Street Works, a leading Tennessee HIV service organization, will host a series of activities in recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
The event will be held in Kean Hall beginning at 11 a.m. Activities will include a luncheon, a guest speaker, vendors, displays, free HIV/AIDs testing and counseling, and information sharing.
According to the TSU office of Student Health Services, which is organizing the activities on campus, the day will conclude with a play about four advocates who introduce biomedical advancements in HIV/AIDS. The play will take place in Poag Auditorium.
Marvell L. Terry II, who is the HIV/AIDS project manager for Human Rights Campaign, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, will be the keynote speaker.
Harvell is also founder of The Red Door Foundation, a non-profit organization that seeks to change the stigma about HIV/AIDS, according to its website. Harvell has been living with HIV since 2007. He has received several national recognitions and honors for his advocacy work.
KaShawna Parker is the public health coordinator in Student Health Services at TSU. She said one goal of the HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is to clear up misconceptions about the virus.
“It is important that our students attend a program like this, because there is a stigma about HIV/AIDS that it is a gay disease …it is not,” Parker said. “Some people don’t know how you get HIV/AIDS, how you can transmit it to other people. It is important that our students know these things. Because if they can learn it, they can take that message into their communities.”
Studies show that Blacks account for more new HIV infections, people estimated to be living with HIV disease, and HIV-related deaths than any other racial/ethnic group in the U.S.
One report by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation shows that although Black Americans represent only 12 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for 44 percent of new HIV infections and an estimated 44 percent of people living with HIV in 2010.
JerMilton Woods, a junior Human Performance and Sports Sciences major, said he believes the awareness day will “change the trajectory.”
“Making us aware gives us a better sense of how to go about things and how to protect ourselves,” Woods said.
For information or to register for the HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, follow the link https://tnstateu.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_0lD5UEKbfixXf8x or visit the Streetworks website (www.street-works.org) for more information.
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With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.