BSU sponsors HIV/AIDS awareness day

Kallie Cox, Staff Writer

According to global statistics, 36.7 million people worldwide are currently living with HIV/AIDS.  Many of these people are not even aware that they have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, because its symptoms can take up to ten years to show.

On Feb 7, National Black HIV/AIDS awareness day, the Black Student Union sponsored a testing and awareness day for HIV/AIDS with help from the Springfield Urban League in the Abraham Lincoln Commons.

When asked what prompted their decision to organize the testing, Laurie Clemons of the BSU had this to say, “It creates an awareness, some people are not even aware that they have it.” Vice president of the BSU Leah Frazier added: “We are doing this so people can be more aware of what they are doing, especially young people as they are more susceptible to STIs. We want to help them be educated.”

According to the Springfield Urban League (SUL), while HIV cases vary depending on the individual, some of the most common signs of HIV are fever, rashes, skin splotches, and flu-like symptoms. These signs may not show for years, and consequentially, many who have HIV/AIDS are living unaware.

You are more likely to contract HIV if you have unprotected sex, share sex toys, or if you share needles. When speaking to the Springfield Urban League, they said that the most susceptible demographics to AIDS are currently Hispanic and African men who have sex with other men.

The SUL advises that people undergo HIV/AIDS testing at least twice a year. If you cannot afford to regularly go to a doctor, many organizations offer free or affordable testing services. If you go online and search for free HIV testing services in Illinois, dozens of places pop up. One option is Planned Parenthood’s Springfield Health center, which offers STD and HIV testing that is free when financial need is demonstrated. To be tested with Planned Parenthood, simply go online to: and book your appointment.  

The easiest ways to prevent HIV are: Using a new latex condom every time you have sex, not having sex while impaired, not sharing sex toys, and by not using oil-based lubricants.

In order to prevent more young people from obtaining HIV/AIDS, Sexual Education must reiterate how important safe sex is, how to have safe sex, and it must teach students about HIV. Don’t be afraid to be tested regularly, as Alexis Morris, BSU sergeant at arms says: “People should never be afraid to be tested.”

If you are diagnosed with AIDS, there is hope. New medication is being developed every day and it is now more possible than ever to treat HIV/AIDS.

Kallie Cox can be reached at [email protected]