By: Max Bruns ~Staff Writer~
HIV/AIDS testing has become more accessible to Xavier students in recent months thanks to the Pi Upsilon chapter of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc..
At 6 p.m. on Feb. 11, the sorority hosts free HIV/AIDS testing in the Conaton Learning Commons (CLC), room 412.
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), in which immune system failure allows life-threatening infections and cancers to develop.
“We love bringing this program to Xavier,” Marquetta Monroe, president of Xavier’s chapter, said. “It’s one of our favorite events to host.”
The university’s Sigma Gamma Rho chapter hosted one event last semester related to the awareness and prevention of HIV. The event was so popular that the sorority ran out of tests.
“It’s important for this issue to become part of the common dialogue,” Monroe said. “It may be an awkward subject, but prevention of STDs is so vital to health and well-being, especially terminal STDs like AIDS.”
The program involves Hydeia Broadbent, an HIV awareness advocate who contracted HIV congenitally and made it her life’s mission to spread awareness about the disease. Broadbent’s talks focus on the dangers of unsafe sex and the need for protection and guard against the risks of contracting STDs. On her website, Broadbent says, “With all that we know about the virus, it is clear to me that contracting HIV/AIDS today is a choice, and we can’t allow anyone the power to make that choice for us!”
The sorority is bringing Broadbent across the country.
“You need to be aware,” Monroe said. “You need to stay protected. That’s why we’re hosting this event and that’s why we’ve asked Ms. Broadbent to come.”
The free tests administered during the program yield results within 20 minutes and are taken by cotton swab. The results are anonymous to everyone except the tester and the patient. This kind of accessibility and privacy are important for the event to be effective.
“We want people to come get tested, and we know anonymity is the best way to draw crowds for something like this,” Monroe said.
Xavier’s Pi Upsilon chapter of the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority hosts many events throughout the year, with this being its most popular.
To learn more about Broadbent and the mission to stop AIDS, visit hydeiabroadbent.com.