By: Melissa Colleary
World AIDS Day, an initiative intended to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS and to support those living with HIV, is celebrated annually on December 1st. This year, LIAAC co-hosted an event with Stony Brook University’s LGBTQ* and Student Health Advisory Committee. This event took place on December 1st from 12 to 9 p.m. in the Sidney Gelber Auditorium.
Throughout the event, several organizations provided information tables for the students and staff of Stony Brook University. In attendance was The Long Island Association for AIDS Care; Stony Brook Medicine’s PrEP Services; Pride for Youth; Stony Brook University’s LGBTQ*; Mothers Against Drunk Driving; Stony Brook University’s Commuter Student Association; Campus Residences; Stony Brook University’s AIDS Peer Educators; and the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC).
At this event, LIAAC sponsored a screening of the film Rent, a musical about New Yorkers in the early 1990s struggling to pay their rent and live their lives during the AIDS epidemic. This screening was attended by approximately 70 students and staff members.
The event also featured a screening of Blood Brother, a documentary about “Rocky Braat, a young man from a fractured family and a troubled past, went traveling through India without a plan. Then he met a group of HIV positive children living in an orphanage — a meeting that changed everything for him”. Additionally, Stony Brook University’s LGBTQ* sponsored a screening of United in Anger: A History of ACT UP, a documentary about the AIDS activist movement followed by a Q&A segment with the film’s director, Jim Hubbard.
LIAAC staff from both the Education and Mobile Outreach departments provided HIV testing in the campus’s UNITI Cultural Center from 11 am to 7 pm, while Planned Parenthood provided mobile testing in the SAC Plaza from 12 pm to 3 pm. Throughout the course of this event, LIAAC performed 90 HIV tests, while Planned Parenthood completed an additional 20 for a total of 110 tested for the day.
LIAAC staff distributed over 5,000 condoms to students by conducting outreach throughout the Student Activities Center. This outreach led to several encounters with students who were both shocked and excited to see condoms being freely distributed on campus. Some students requested additional condom packs, while others inquired about LIAAC’s other services and were referred to testing.
Overall, the World AIDS Day event at Stony Brook University was a great success, exceeding testing and condom distribution goals.
To view photos and videos from our World AIDS Day events at Stony Brook University, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/liaac.inc