UCSD Hosts ‘World AIDS Day’ Events on Campus

    UCSD celebrated World AIDS Day this week, hosting a variety of free, on-campus events to the public. The events began on Monday, Nov. 26; lasted until Friday, Nov 30; and focused on this year’s “Getting to Zero” theme, aiming to spread awareness and achieve zero new HIV infections, zero stigma towards those with the HIV/AIDS and zero deaths related to the infection. World AIDS Day at UCSD was planned by a university-wide committee of volunteers including students, staff and faculty.

    On Wednesday night, the World AIDS Day committee hosted an event in Middle of Muir, featuring speeches from people affected by HIV/AIDS. The event, “How Does HIV/AIDS Affect YOU,” also invited audience members to share stories about their experiences with HIV/AIDS.

    “We wanted to create this learning space for people to share their stories,” Coordinator of Student Activities at Muir Connie Chang said. Several UCSD students shared their personal experiences with HIV to the audience, and how the infection has affected their lives.

    “I’m not ashamed I have HIV,” one UCSD student said. “I’m not ashamed of who I am. I know who I am and I love it. I just wish people would stop with the stigma and educate themselves.”

    The San Diego County Office of Public Health provided an HIV Testing Bus on Thursday and Friday at Library Walk. The bus gave all students, faculty and staff members the opportunity to receive free, anonymous HIV Rapid Testing.

    “HIV/AIDS continues to affect our students, faculty and staff,” Campus Diversity Officer and Director Shaun Travers said. “Our students and employees can get tested for HIV, can learn how they can help stop the spread and assist those who are living with HIV/AIDS.”

    The AIDS Memorial Quilt has been a key tradition of World AIDS Day since 2002. Every year UCSD showcases sections of the quilt, representing HIV infection prevention. The quilt is the world’s largest ongoing community arts project and emerged from groups and individuals in response to the AIDS dilemma.

    In 2008 the World AIDS Day committee added a Survivor Photography exhibit next to the display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, making the showcase the most attended event of World AIDS Day at UCSD. This year, the committee showcased the AIDS Memorial Quilt in the Price Center Ballroom East.

    The week of events concluded Friday evening with a closing ceremony at the AIDS Memorial Quilt, featuring a performance by San Diego Women’s Chorus.

    “Honoring World AIDS Day reminds UCSD as a campus community of its commitment to serving our region, as well as changing the world by our research, our work in the community and our educational efforts,” Travers said.

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