United Student Pride club hosted an event last Friday to
increase awareness on HIV and AIDS. Money was collected
to help HIV patients.
Photo Courtesy of Zoyer Zyndel
On Friday, Dec.1, the United Student Pride Club at Fresno State hosted an event at the Satellite Student Union to raise funds and awareness of HIV and AIDS among students.
“Even today, it’s an issue that people think doesn’t affect them or they try to downplay the importance of having knowledge about this issue,” United Student Pride president and Fresno State student Zoyer Zyndel said. “ On the other hand, they don’t want to address this issue because it’s embarrassing or there’s some sort of stigma attached to it being related to the fact that they’re gay.”
Fresno State student and chairman of United Student Pride Sean Wendel said the purpose of the event is to raise funds for local HIV and AIDS patients.
Speakers at the event shared their experiences dealing with HIV and their experiences as spectators.
“The youth nowadays think that it doesn’t affect them and that there’s just a medication to take and that’s it, it’s no big deal,” Wendel said. “Our job as an organization and specifically at this event is to bring more exposure to this critical issue.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention ranked California as third in the top ten states that have reported the highest number of AIDS diagnoses in 2009.
“The average age of living with HIV has gone up in over 20 years, but we want to spread the message of using condoms and practicing safe sex and that’s a big issue,” Wendel said.
The night continued with a masquerade-style dance, where people wore masks and engaged in the festivities of World AIDS Day, which usually takes place on Dec. 1.
During the final hour of the event, an auction was held.
“We are hoping to raise at least a thousand dollars to go to the surrounding communities,” Wendel said. “We will be selling raffle tickets to the participants who will be buying some of the art pieces we have for sale which will then be donated to the patients.”
“There [are] a lot of misunderstandings by people on how someone contracts sexually transmitted diseases and we want to change that,” Wendel added.