The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.
The theme of awareness is strong when directing attention to the trials of humanity. Awareness is what brought us together to raise money and attention toward World AIDS Day on Monday. The event showed us the milestones we have reached since the world epidemic began claiming lives in 1981.
In the more than 30 years we have been trying to understand and eliminate the Auto-immune Deficiency Virus, we have made strides.
The AIDS disease originally came with the stigma that only gay men and Africans were capable of transmitting and catching the disease, but we now understand that AIDS can be transmitted to anyone in multiple ways.
The fight against the AIDS epidemic is important. The Center for Disease Control estimates that there are more than 1.2 million people in the U.S. with AIDS, and that number will grow by 50,000 each year.
According to aids.gov, one in four Americans between 13-24 have AIDS and one in six people with the disease are unaware that they have it. This is because who have the disease will often not show signs or symptoms for decades.
To protect ourselves and our partners, we should get tested for AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. This can be done at most doctor’s offices, and Health Services also provides testing services.
There is more that we as students can do besides wearing a red ribbon or buying a bumper sticker to raise awareness and understanding.
As much as we’ve already heard it, safe sex is important. According to Planned Parenthood, using a condom is 10,000 times safer than not using a condom in terms of AIDS prevention.
For those that can’t afford proper contraceptives, condom distribution has increased by 25.8 through both governmental and nongovernmental funding. In short, condoms can be provided for free at places like Health Services and other clinics.
Those who are sexually active aren’t the only ones who could potentially contract and die from AIDS. Children who are born from a parent with AIDS contract the virus and are forced to live with a disease that is beyond their control.
Most people feel that contracting AIDS isn’t as easy as it is in third world countries, but the virus can be contracted in places like college campuses with intimate partners that we know and trust.
With a lot of our attention geared toward the Ebola virus, it is easy to forget the toll that AIDS still has on its victims.
The risks are real and transmission rates have climbed for more than 30 years. Let’s not forget that keeping ourselves safe can be as easy as using a condom.
We should let World AIDS Day be a reminder that we should practice safer sex, get tested and be open and honest with our sexual partners.
It is up to us not to add to the growing statistics that surround AIDS transmission.