Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GU Students Continue Fight Against HIV/AIDS

Georgetown students are taking action in the fight against HIV/AIDS during the weeks leading up to World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.

D.C. has the highest rate of new AIDS cases in the country. Approximately one in every 20 adults in D.C. is infected with HIV, according to the Whitman-Walker Clinic, a Washington metropolitan area provider of health care and support services for those living with HIV/AIDS.

“The more we can talk about the disease and advocate for its victims without fear of shame or embarrassment, we will have come that much closer to finding a cure, in every sense of the word,” Erica Manta (COL ’10), president of the Georgetown University AIDS Coalition, said.

The GU AIDS Coalition, as well as Georgetown Medical AIDS Advocacy Network, American Medical Student Association and American Medical Women’s Association are sponsoring a full schedule of activities at Georgetown that began on Nov. 17 and will continue through Dec. 5.

While GMAAN is a recent creation, formed in September of this year under the umbrella of the AMSA, members of the new group have high hopes for the events’ success.

Along with other AIDS advocacy groups, GMAAN’s members rallied during “100 Days to Fight AIDS” in McPherson Square yesterday to voice their policy demands to the incoming Obama administration.

This week’s events included a prayer service on Monday and a movie on Tuesday, both sponsored by GMAAN. Mary Young, assistant professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases and director of the HIV women’s program, also spoke on Tuesday about her experiences with HIV-positive patients, sponsored by GMAAN, AMSA and AMWA. The week closes with a speech tonight entitled “One Earth vs. AIDS,” hosted by the same three groups.

Another GMAAN event, which will take place on World AIDS Day, is the “Feminization of HIV” webcast, which will be filmed live at Georgetown’s New Research Auditorium and broadcast online.

The GU AIDS Coalition will also be hosting two testing events on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3 as part of the “I Know My Status” campaign. The organization is also sponsoring a benefit concert, UnityLIVE on Dec. 5, featuring a variety of Georgetown’s performance groups, including Groove Theory, Rangila troupes and Superfood.

Organizers say that one of their most important goals is to help reduce the stigma and stereotypes surrounding HIV/AIDS. The group aims to make people feel comfortable getting tested. Social prejudice often prevents people from being openly HIV positive, or even being tested for HIV at all, Manta said.

Siobhan McCarty (MSB ’11), co-chair of the GMAAN. said that the number of events and campus groups working to fight the AIDS epidemic demonstrates that Georgetown students are taking an active interest in the problem.

“We recognize that it is our obligation to fight the spread of HIV,” she said. “Preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and caring for patients with HIV/AIDS fully aligns with [Georgetown’s] School of Medicine’s mission “cura personalis”- care for the whole person.”

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