USC Sumter student answers to KU students questions
Q. In Kenya, we have youth movements that are created to promote positive behavior change amongst the youth, for example, we have I Choose Life, True Love waits etc. do you have such movements in your country?
A. There are several youth movements in regards to HIV/AIDS. Most of the youth movements are global, such as the Student Global AIDS Campaign, Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP), etc. Many youth movements are not solely concerned with HIV/AIDS and are proponents of abstinence. We also have True Love Waits which is part of our Christian community. This is probably the most popular movement and is present in most high schools across the nation. Free bibles are offered among youth groups. This mainly focuses on waiting to have sex until marriage. However, it does not cover issues on any sexually transmitted diseases. Many colleges also have their own movements. For example, USC (University of South Carolina) has jars of free condoms which are accessible to all students. In fact, we just had a former Playboy Playmate (who has AIDS) come to our school to speak. She stressed the importance of safe sex and brought many new issues to light.
Q. Is it true that when most products are banned in USA the companies dump them to third world countries.
A. In the US it is illegal to sell medicine if has expired. The medical companies are responsible to make sure that medications are off the market three months before the expiration date. No, as far as medicine being sold to third world countries, I don’t think so. However, it maybe a broad topic. I am not sure of any product in particular.
Q. Do you have Voluntary Counseling and Testing Centers in your country and if there, of what significance are they for in the fight against HIV/AIDS?
A. Yes, there are numerous resources in the country towards HIV/AIDS. Voluntary counseling and free testing centers are both available. Also, the government pays for any medical charges necessary associated with the disease. The United States actually has a day, June 27th, which is dedicated to testing for HIV. The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA-US) produces an annual campaign called National HIV Testing Day (NHTD). At-risk individuals can be voluntarily tested for HIV and receive counseling as well. Campaign kits are distributed to community groups and health departments across the nation to help target local communities. People who have been living with HIV also help out on this day by educating individuals about the need for utilizing HIV testing, prevention, and care services. With all the free resource and knowledge on this issue, there is no reason that it should be passed from mother to child, yet it still happens. The rates of this disease would drop tremendously if people would take this issue serious and be willing to learn more. It is up to individuals to seek help because it is out there for no price.
Q. How has HIV/AIDS affected your country especially the youth's social life?
A. HIV/AIDS has had a major impact on our country, but it's more of a global battle in our eyes. Even though the numbers are rising in the US, most Americans are concerned with the global issue of HIV/AIDS. HIV does not discriminate against who it infects, so it is not an issue of American versus African. The main concern is to tackle this beast, where ever it lies. According to many recent studies, it seems as though the efforts to inform our youth in the US are in vain. It has not changed the behavior in our youth: they are still engaging in risky behavior. From a psychologist's stand point, adolescents are in a stage where they find themselves invulnerable and immune to the consequences of dangerous and risky behavior. Unfortunately, these youth engage in these risky behaviors, not because they are ignorant, but because they feel they are at low or no risk of suffering negative consequences.
Q. What is your perception towards AIDS in Africa?
A. My perception on AIDS is that it is constantly increasing and continuing to be higher due to the religious beliefs and myths that Africans believe in. For example, someone infected with the disease sleeps with a virgin, however this is very misleading. I feel that Africans may lack a great deal of knowledge on AIDS.
Q. What is the infection rate of HIV/AIDS in U.S universities?
A. In 2003, women with AIDS were 22% and men were 67% in the U.S.
Q. How does the government fight the epidemic in U.S. especially at the institutions?
A. Government pays and support health clinics along with advertisement to let people become aware of HIV/AIDS. The government also pays for sex education courses in high school.
Q. Do you have student clubs or organizations that fights AIDS in the universities? And if yes, what activities do you have?
A. No, we do not currently have a specific organization at our university in Sumter. However, the community offers several resources in the education and prevention on HIV/AIDS.
Q. Now that most people in the world are aware of HIV/AIDS, what do Americans do to bridge the gap between the knowledge of awareness and behavior change?
A. Adequate and appropriate health education programs are available in school systems as well as the community and medical field. Health care providers give free testing and counseling. Resources are available on subjects such as lifestyle, attitudes, transmission, prevention, and treatment.
Q. In your college how is HIV/AIDS incorporated in the college curriculum?
A. Throughout most Biology courses, HIV/AIDS is incorporated to a certain extent. We are taught about the basic steps in order to prevent being infected with the virus.
Q. What is the role of university and college students in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the society?
A. College students use contraceptives to fight HIV/AIDS. Universities have clinics where you can be tested for HIV/AIDS. There are also sex education courses.
Q. Do you believe in the accuracy of HIV/AIDS tests in the hospitals and medical centers?
A. Yes, because in the United States, technology is available in early diagnosing of diseases.
Q. Many theories about origin of HIV/AIDS in the world. Which theory to you is the almost clear theory about origin of the scourge?
A. We believe that the disease was contracted first by man and is continuously spread by man.
Q. Why is it that HIV/AIDS cases in America are highest in men than in females and children?
A. Prisons consist of more men where HIV is strong. There is also a high rate of homosexuality.