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

AIDS Week Educates on Epidemic

On a multi-yard international quilt, names of deceased AIDS victims were brought to life with decorations and bright colors. A six-by-six portion of the international AIDS quilt, made to be roughly the size of a coffin, has been on display for the past week in Leavey Program Room. The quilt display is one part of AIDS Week 2001 at Georgetown, which commemorated national AIDS Day on Dec. 1.

Intended to educate the Georgetown community about the AIDS epidemic, AIDS Week began Wednesday, Nov. 28 and continues through Wednesday. The Diversity Working Group, Health Education Services and other student groups joined efforts to present this year’s AIDS Week.

Oral HIV testing took place Nov. 28 in Reiss 102 in conjunction with Whitman-Walker, a non-profit organization that also deals with the issue of AIDS. Since Whitman-Walker receives grants for the tests, they are free for students. According to Carol Hurwitz, a member of the Diversity Working Group, this serves as an incentive for students who would otherwise hesitate at the possible $160 price of an HIV test. The tests were also given anonymously so students did not have to worry about the results being placed on their permanent medical records.

Consequently, over 110 students, about twice as many in years past, showed up for the testing. Hurwitz attributed the increase in interest to the “pre- and post test counseling available to students as well as the broadcast e-mail sent out to students.”These numbers show that lots of people must want this service,” she said.

Aside from the oral HIV testing, the AIDS quilt has helped educate the Georgetown community more, according to organizers. Adjectives, poems and T-shirts decorated the quilt and the names and photos of AIDS victims were put on view.

David Rivera, a member of the DWG who has participated in AIDS Week for two years, volunteered his time in the display room. According to Rivera, over 75 GU community members stopped by during his shift. “We also encourage many people to take the pamphlets here because the largest problem with the AIDS epidemic is education.”

The quilt has been on display since last Friday. “It’s an amazingly interesting way to remember those who have died,” Hurwitz said.

For Tiffany Craig (MSB ’03), seeing the quilt had a great impact. “I had heard about the quilt on TV,” she said, “but seeing it in person made me reflect on how the disease affected not only the persons represented, but their families as well.”

The AIDS Week committee said it wishes that more events could have been planned, as in previous years. With so many national and other local events going on, however, resources were limited, Hurwitz said.

Georgetown’s AIDS Week 2001 will conclude with an Interfaith Service of Hope and Remembrance, celebrated by Rev. Pat Conroy, S.J., on Wednesday in Dahlgren Chapel.

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