SRU’s HOPE peer educators host World AIDS Day program

World AIDS Day 2016

Nov. 30, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS over the past 32 years, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

With that staggering number in mind, the Slippery Rock University HOPE (Healthy Outreach Through Peer Education) Peer Educators will offer an informational program in conjunction with World AIDS Day from 12:30-2 p.m., Dec. 1 in the Smith Student Center commuter lounge.

HOPE Peer Educators strive to promote student wellness by offering comprehensive health education and advocating for a campus and local community that support student well-being.

"The overarching goal for us is to end the stigma and rethink HIV," said Renee Bateman, SRU health promotion coordinator and HOPE adviser. "It is an opportunity for students, staff and faculty to show support to, and solidarity with, the millions of people living with HIV."

Currently, there are an estimated 34 million people living with HIV around the world.

According to the CDC, U.S. statistics show:

  • More than 1.2 million people are living with HIV, with one in eight unaware of the fact they have the virus;
  • As of 2014, 44,073 people had been diagnosed with HIV, while more than 20,000 people had been diagnosed with AIDS; and
  • More than 13,000 people die from AIDS each year.

Launched in 1998, Worlds AIDS Day is a global initiative for raising awareness of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and mourning those who have died from HIV or AIDS. The 2016 theme is "Leadership. Commitment. Impact."

According to Bateman, a variety of activities, red awareness ribbons and information about HIV testing and protection against the virus, will be provided by the HOPE Peer Educators.

The event is being held in conjunction with: the SRU student chapter of the Pennsylvania Public Health Association; the President's Commission for Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation; the Student Union for Multicultural Affairs; RockOUT; The Women's Center; The Pride Center; and Adagio Health.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine | 724.738.4854 | gordon.ovenshine@sru.edu