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AIDS Walk to promote awareness

By Mickey Woods

In an effort to bring awareness  of HIV and AIDS back to campus and the community, the IU chapter of the Student Global AIDS Campaign will be host to its fifth AIDS Walk at 1 p.m. Sunday in the Teter Quad south courtyard.

The event will feature opening ceremonies, speakers, live performances and information from Positive Link and other student groups covering health matters, according to the Student Global AIDS Campaign Web site. The walk will begin at 1:45 p.m.

“In the past, the focus has been largely centered on community awareness,” said sophomore Adeel Chaudhry, co-director of the Student Global AIDS Campaign. “Most of the people working at Positive Link decided it would be great to try and get students more involved with this issue, so we’re having the AIDS Walk on campus this year.”

Chaudhry said the event is free, and students and community members can register on the Student Global AIDS Campaign Web site.

“HIV/AIDS is such an issue here in Bloomington,” said senior Cassie Adams, co-director of the Student Global AIDS Campaign. “I don’t think many people around here are aware of the prevalence of the disease, especially in a small-town college community.

Adams said she wants the group to help get rid of the stigma often associated with the disease – or at least come up with strategies to identify the stigma’s source.

“I wanted to take action on fighting an issue that carries so much weight with so many different people,” she said. “I hope students will be encouraged to join the walk
because HIV cases are on the rise nationwide. It should be an issue of concern.”

Adams said efforts to publicize the AIDS Walk should encourage students to participate, citing chalking advertisements on sidewalks, putting up flyers in car windshields and general flyers in high-traffic student areas as ways to promote involvement.

“We want the Student Global AIDS Campaign of IU to really evolve into a very large student group,” she said. “The more students are involved, the more likely we are to make an impact on how people feel about HIV and AIDS.”

Freshman Michael Thomas said the idea of an AIDS Walk benefits public awareness and supports people with HIV or AIDS in the community.

“Whether you have HIV or AIDS, we must recognize the dignity in everyone,” he said. “Otherwise, it will continue to be swept under the rug.”

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