University marks World AIDS Day

Ashley Augello

The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt Display commenced on Tuesday, kicking off the Villanova’s three day Campaign for a Cure the three day display was exhibited in the Connelly Cinema from Wednesday through Friday, commemorating World AIDS Day on Thursday.

The days were packed with dramatic presentations by members of SWAT, Diversity Peer Educators, and members of performance classes.  These performances, all parts of a series entitled “AIDS in the 21st Century,” were intended to bring the Quilt to life through the use of the stories behind certain patches.  The names on the quilt represent about 17.5 percent of all U.S. AIDS related deaths.

The scripts were intended to both create tolerance and get people to reflect on their own experiences, essentially exposing them to the reality that they too are very at risk.   It is very easy for people to be in denial, and people are very reluctant to be real when it comes to their own risk factor.

Dr. Rose of the communication department said that she hoped these three days would “create a sense of togetherness and open people up to being vulnerable to other people’s experiences.” Her hope was that this would address the continuing intolerance that is such a big part of our “awfully protected” Villanova campus community.

The students involved with the Campaign for a Cure had similar sentiments to Dr. Rose. They agreed that the University is very sheltered and people tend to practice selective exposure when it comes to unpleasant situations. They too hoped that this would help to expose and promote tolerance among students to different ways of life.

“We all go through different things,” said student participant DeJuan Lewis, “and in the end we’re all people.”

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is the advanced stage of the HIV infection. The general characteristic of aids is the appearance of opportunistic infections. Opportunistic infections are infections that take over a weakened immune system, such as pneumonia and tuberculosis.

HIV is spread through bodily fluids. Unprotected sexual contact with an infected individual is the most common way of becoming infected with HIV. Direct contact with contaminated blood via needles, open wounds, blood products and transplanted organs are all possible ways of getting HIV. HIV can also transfer form an infected mother to her child during pregnancy, the birth process, or breast feeding.

In 2004, there were approximately 40 million people living with HIV and AIDS in the world. Sub-Saharan Africa is the worst affected region with more than 25 million cases. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for only one-tenth of the world’s population, but accounts for 70 percent of the global total of HIV-positive people.

14,400 people are infected with AIDS every day at a rate of one person every six seconds. Of these new infections, half are younger than 25 years of age. Almost 25% of the 40,000 new infections in the U.S. each year occur in 13 to 21 year olds. The majority of these young people are infected sexually.

There were 4.9 million new cases of HIV and AIDS in 2004. About 640,000 of those cases were in children under the age of 15. By 2010 it is estimated that over 80 million people will be infected with HIV worldwide. AIDS killed 3.1 million people worldwide in 2004 and is the worldwide leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 49.

The risk of HIV infection lessens in sexually active young adults with the use of protection.

There are various types of condoms, and some provide little or no protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Latex condoms feel the most natural but they may not provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases and are weakened by heat. Lubricated condoms have lubrication that reduces the risk of breaking, but additional lubricant is required for protection.

Reservoir-type condoms provide an open space at the tip for fluids, but a half inch must be left at the end of the condom for it to be effective. For more information on HIV/AIDS go to