SBI Tampa Conducts Silent Awareness Event in Observance of World AIDS Day 2012
December 11, 2012
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On Thursday, November 29th, students and staff participated in a silent AIDS awareness event on campus in observance of World AIDS Day. The theme for World AIDS Day this year was “Getting to Zero,” highlighting the fact that every 9 ½ minutes someone is diagnosed with HIV, and awareness of the importance of HIV testing and condom use can ultimately bring that number to zero. To visually illustrate this, beginning with the start of classes at 8:00 a.m. and throughout the day until 1:30 pm, every 9 ½ minutes a student or staff member donned a black t-shirt, on the back of which was placed a fact about HIV/AIDS. As the day progressed, the number of students wearing black shirts increased, thus signifying the silent spread of the HIV virus. Students not participating took notice, curious as to the significance of the black shirts. The explanation was revealed at the end of the day in an all-student assembly by guest speaker, Andrew Maldonado, Regional Minority AIDS Coordinator for the greater Tampa community. Mr. Maldonado spoke frankly with the students about the importance of regular HIV screenings and condom use and challenged them to share what they learned through this visual expression of the spread of HIV with friends and family to bring awareness to the cause.
Ramon Baez Tellado of Tampa Hillsborough Action Plan, Inc. (THAP) was also on campus with a group of volunteers to conduct free HIV screenings throughout the day.
The event was well received by the students, and Tampa will continue to work with Mr. Maldonado and THAP to bring regular awareness events to the campus. The black shirt exercise will be repeated as part of future WAD awareness events.