World AIDS Day spreads awareness

Elizabeth Brennan

The Villanova community, along with thousands of others around the world, recognized World AIDS Day with informational events such as the Day of Pills on Dec. 1 and a candlelight vigil on Dec. 2.

“The Day of Pills simulation provides a concrete exercise to experience in a very limited way how someone with AIDS has to adjust one’s lifestyle in order to maintain the intense regiment of medication to stay well,” Campus Ministry Intern Brian McCabe wrote in an e-mail.

Villanova students and faculty members were given a package of “pills,” which were small pieces of candy. In this exercise participants took the same dosage of medicine that people living with HIV and AIDS actually take, which can be as often as every half hour.

“Reflections on the event included that this process of so much medication only manages but still does not cure AIDS,” McCabe wrote. “Someone also shared that they assumed that we would have developed ‘one pill’ by now. This simulation dispelled that belief.”

Campus Ministry distributed over 100 bags of candy for the pill simulation.  The goal of the simulation was to make people aware of the AIDS epidemic. In addition to the pills, Campus Ministry members also handed information out in the IK in an effort to reach a wider audience. 

Campus Ministry also held a candlelight vigil in Corr Chapel. Students and other members of the Villanova community came together not only to pray for those suffering with the disease, but also to reflect on what they learned about the HIV and AIDS crisis around the world.

“We believe that as people of privilege with the opportunity have a higher education, we have the responsibility to make sure the reality of HIV/AIDS does not go unnoticed,” McCabe wrote. “We have the responsibility to become as educated as possible on AIDS issues here in Philadelphia and around the world.  Education leads to awareness which can lead to action.”

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since its discovery just over 20 years ago, there have been well over 1 million Americans diagnosed with HIV in the United States alone.

About 40,000 people are diagnosed in the United States each year. According to “Youth AIDS,” there are now 33.2 million people living with HIV and AIDS in the world.

“It is important for our Villanova community to become more aware of the reality that this disease creates for so many people in our larger communities locally and globally,” McCabe said.