We’ve come a long way in reducing rates of HIV infection since the peak of the epidemic 30 years ago, but this is no time to let up on those efforts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and nearly one in eight of them don’t know they are infected. Globally, 34 million people are living with the infection.
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. If left untreated, HIV can lead to the disease acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. Unlike some other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV. That means that once you have HIV, you have it for life, although scientists are working to find a safe and effective cure and medical advancements have extended the life expectancy of people with the infection.
To raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, counter lingering misconceptions and equip current and future health care providers to deal with HIV patients, this Friday kicks off World AIDS Day events at DMU. Co-hosted by the Global Health Student Club, Infectious Disease and Public Health Club, Student Osteopathic Medical Association and the Multicultural Affairs department, the events include the following:
- “Clinical Management of HIV/AIDS” discussion featuring Marie Nguyen, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology, and Ravi Vemuri, M.D., a board-certified physician in internal medicine, infectious disease and hyperbaric medicine, Friday, Nov. 20, noon – 1p.m., Lecture Hall 3, Academic Center
- Screening of HIV/AIDS “Monologues: Addressing Stigmas and Biases” followed by discussion, Monday, Nov. 23, noon – 1 p.m., Lecture Hall 3, Academic Center
- Screening of “Blood Brother,” a documentary about HIV-positive orphans in India, Monday, Nov. 30, 6–8 p.m., SEC Auditorium
- World AIDS Day panel discussion featuring health and public health experts and individuals living with HIV/AIDS, offered by DMU’s Continuing Medical Education (CME) department, the Iowa Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, Tuesday, Dec. 1, Olsen Center; registration and lunch begin at 11:30 a.m.; panel discussion from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.; the event is free but registration is requested via the CME website
- Candelight vigil, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 6 p.m.; all DMU students are asked to wear their white coats and meet outside the SEC’s Grand Avenue entrance
The federal theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is “The Time to Act is Now.” Take action by learning about the disease, who’s vulnerable, the importance of early testing and ways to help its victims by attending these open-to-all events.