Photo by Jack Yu
By Jack Yu
Stony Brook University showed its support for the fight against HIV on the 29th annual World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, to raise HIV/AIDS awareness among of the campus community.
The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day was prevention. SBU educated students how to have safe sex, how to prevent the spread of HIV and how to respect and show support for the people who are living with the disease.
The university collaborated with the Long Island Association for AIDS Care (LIAAC), Stony Brook University’s LGBTQ* Services and the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) by offering free flu shots and one-minute HIV fast tests to students.
These services were provided at the UNITI Cultural Center office, which is located at the Student Activities Center. Roughly 40 students were tested on Thursday.
Three health professionals from LIAAC provided the test services at the UNITI Cultural Center and the University’s Mental Health and Wellness Peer Educators helped students check in and introduce themselves to health professionals.
Kathleen (Kate) Valerio, a health educator and program coordinator at the Stony Brook University, guided students to get flu shots or tested.
Valerio praised Cole Lee, president of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), for being a good influence for the student body and encouraging students to get flu vaccines.
The University also held a health fair that helped students get access to various resources in the SAC. LIAAC, Planned Parenthood and Pride for Youth were among the organizations that set up tables to provide information to students and raise the awareness of HIV. SBU Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and SBU LGBTQ* also gave out free condoms to students at the tables and provided them with information about safe sex.
Tara Conlon, a PrEP specialist in the department of pediatrics at SBU, introduced the PrEP Services during Thursday’s event.
PrEP is a daily medicine that helps a person stay HIV negative, according to Conlon.
Students with either private or state health insurance are covered by the PrEP services.
The program also helps students with positive HIV testing result by offering follow-up PrEP care, including assessments every three months.
During the all-day event, the university also screened movies such as Rent, Blood Brother and United in Anger, with the goal of teaching students about the history of HIV in the United States.
For more information and support for those with questions about HIV and AIDS, visit the Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Inc. website.