By Stephanie Smith
In 1988, the global health event World AIDS Day was established. In honor of this day, Hampton University's Health Center will be offering free HIV testing and free flu shots Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom.
Free HIV testing requires student ID. With just a prick of a finger, you can be sure of your status. Be among the first 50 patients and you will receive a free doughnut from Glazed Doughnuts in exchange.
Flu shots will be offered in the ballroom as well. These vaccines will be offered to students, faculty and staff. The only requirement that differs from the HIV testing requirements is that you must be 18 years or older.
Two HIV informational speakers will also be present in the ballroom. A HU Health Center spokeswoman said that there will be an Eastern Virginia Medical School representative who will share their personal encounter with HIV. The Delta Sigma Theta organization collaborated with HU's Health Center to recruit another speaker. After the guest speakers, live entertainment will then take place in the Student Center Atrium.
Since the virus was identified, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS. With AIDS being one of the most destructive pandemics in history, World AIDS Day is a nationwide opportunity for people to come together and fight against HIV. It's also an opportunity to commemorate those who have died and to show support for those living with HIV.
On World AIDS Day, money is raised, prejudice is fought, and awareness increases while education is improved. Anyone can support and spread awareness by wearing the symbolic red ribbon. Red ribbons can be purchased and donations are accepted on worldaidsday.org. Donations are then given to the National AIDS Trust organization.
World AIDS Day's purpose is to remind the public and government that HIV has not disappeared. Stop by the Student Center Ballroom Thursday and celebrate. Help spread the word to help educate others about HIV. Get tested for free and know your status.
The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.