It is estimated that about 33 million people around the globe are living with HIV or AIDS this year. According to the Joint United Nations program on AIDS/HIV, the number has more than tripled since 1990 and continues to grow, but a cure for HIV remains elusive. In order to raise awareness and commemorate those who have died, the College recognized AIDS Day Dec 1. In Cole Cinema at 6:00pm, Pandemic: Facing AIDS was screened, giving students a chance to discover for themselves who AIDS affects, and its detrimental impacts on the world.
The documentary focused on certain individuals around the globe who were facing the epidemic firsthand and how they were living with it. One couple in Russia had abused drugs and contracted the disease, and were now activists attempting to raise the awareness of AIDS. Another family in Africa had lost their father to AIDS and once the mother deserted her children, they were left on their own to survive. These heartbreaking stories are but a few of the million worldwide whose distressing situations are gaining attention and raising awareness of AIDS.
Students found the documentary to be insightful. “It was a good documentary. It was very informative and revealed how biased people can be about the disease. It’s amazing that people still remain ignorant,” said Rakeena Banks.
Junior Binta Diallo and the Coordinator of Orientation and Service Programs Ashley Tomlin set up the video. Both women helped to coordinate Worldwide AIDS day at St. Mary’s. According to Tomlin, they decided on the documentary because “it chronicled the very different stories of people affected by the HIV/AIDS virus and really showed the destruction that the virus is causing across nations.”
With AIDS continuing to spread and cause damage around the world, the College has taken the initiative to become involved. Though Diallo indicted they weren’t sure what the plans for AIDS Day 2010 were, “[she] wants to do something else to get students out and involved and to incorporate students more ,” she said.