Black Resource Center, Pride Center collaborate to promote HIV/AIDS awareness

by Aretha Matsushima, Staff Writer

For the first time, the Black Resource Center and the Pride Center at San Diego State held an event for students in support of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Feb. 7.

The event featured tabling outside of the Black Resource Center and free HIV testing at the Pride Center. Condoms, lubricants and pamphlets were provided by the Well-being and Health Promotion Department on campus and given out to those in attendance.

SDSU’s Black Resource Center opened on Feb. 28 of last year, supporting the black community on campus with academic, mental and physical needs, according to the Center for Intercultural Relations website.

Black Resource Center Assistant Coordinator Paige Hernandez said the event looked to bring attention to the HIV virus, especially within the black community.

“Our purpose of the event is to reduce HIV stigma within the black community on campus and to highlight the need for increased HIV testing, education and treatment,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez also said she hopes students will walk away with some sense of awareness regarding HIV.

“I would hope that students would feel more comfortable getting tested in the future or at least doing more research about education and testing services,” Hernandez said.

Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students Randy Timm said he feels students are more comfortable getting tested on campus and that HIV testing has been accessible on campus for at least 10 years now.

“Students are probably more likely to be tested in their own home or where they have a community-feeling, so the fact that it’s taking place in the cultural center where they consider their living room or their home just makes it more likely for them to access the service,” Timm said.

With this being the event’s debut, Hernandez said the Black Resource Center hopes to continue to host the event each year.

“This is something that we would hope to continue annually and we will continue to be in close contact with our collaborators,” Hernandez said.

Statistics senior Cameron Luster said when it comes to HIV, all communities are affected and that the stigma surrounding it needs to be addressed.

“We need to continue this discussion, it is not the end of the world if you test positive for HIV because there are still options,” Luster said.