November 23, 2010

HIV/AIDS Awareness Week programs planned

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The impact of the HIV virus is far-reaching, affecting millions of families worldwide. Several special programs at Southern Illinois University Carbondale Nov. 30-Dec. 2 recognize HIV/AIDS Awareness Week and seek to increase awareness of the virus, its effect, and prevention.

“The goal in planning these programs is to encourage people to think more about communication and how communication and information impacts their choices,” said Christy Hamilton, coordinator of sexual health for the Student Health Center. “There are sexual dilemmas people encounter. But when they are educated and have communication skills, they are empowered. They realize they don’t need to compromise themselves.”

You can get free information, free anonymous HIV testing and view a “slice of life” HIV/AIDS documentary all three days at the Student Center. Information tables will be near the north escalators in the Student Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day.

The Jackson County Health Department is offering the confidential and no-cost HIV screenings from 1 to 5 p.m. each day in the Student Center Ballroom D to students and the public. Results are available the day of the testing so you won’t have to return to get the answers you’re looking for. The testing process takes approximately an hour and counseling will be available on site.

While testing is under way, stop by the Corker Lounge for a continuous screening of the documentary “Think HIV: This is Me.” This MTV film, produced in partnership with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation by young people about young people, features poignant vignettes showing the impact of AIDS/HIV on both the infected and the affected.

“The Sex Wizards” will be the special guests for “Sex in the Dark” on Tuesday, Nov. 30, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Student Center Auditorium. This program gives you the chance to ask all of those questions you’ve always wanted to ask but were perhaps afraid to. Those attending can submit questions anonymously before the program starts and when the light goes out you’ll get the answers from “Sex Wizards” Hamilton, Steven St. Julian of the Jackson County Health Department and Jason Gillman, director of the Wellness Center at the Student Health Center.

World AIDS Day is Wednesday, Dec. 1, and the Student Health Center Auditorium is the scene at 6:30 p.m. for the enlightening PowerPoint presentation “HIV 7/27/82 through 12/1/10.” It’s a historical retrospective on the virus that has impacted the world for decades.

The presentation is a fitting introduction for the multi-perspective panel discussion “Are You Positive You’re Negative?” 7-8:30 p.m. Joseph Brown, director of Africana Studies at SIUC, along with Tony Wyatt of the Jackson County Health Department, senior SIUC student LaCharles Ward and other surprise panelists will discuss their perspectives about why people still often fail to protect themselves from the virus.

Wrapping up the programming is “Sex With the Lights On” 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2, in the Student Health Center Auditorium. This lively workshop features solutions to sexual issues presented via entertaining skits.

The theme of the 2010 HIV/AIDS Awareness week is “Sexual Dilemmas + Sexual Communication = Sexual Empowerment.” Sponsors include, from SIUC, the Student Health Center, the Africana Theatre Laboratory, Department of Africana Studies, Department of Health Education, Eta Sigma Gamma, GLBT Resource Center, Communicating Progressive Masculinities for Social Change, Student Center, Student Development, University Housing and Wellness Center Peer Group Psst (Positive Social Skills Trainer) along with the Jackson County Health Department.

For more information, look online at or call the Student Health Center Wellness Center at 618/453-4431.