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Faculty, Community discuss AIDS

8 December 2013 By Cody Boteler, Assistant News Editor No Comments

Elizabeth Bonica/ The Towerlight

Community member Bill Ingram talked about the denial he experienced leading up to the moment he was diagnosed with AIDS. “The reality is that I was dying at [that] point,” he said.
Ingram told a story of recovery, however. Since his diagnosis, thanks to a three-drug cocktail, Ingram said that his AIDS is almost undetectable. Ingram, along with four professors spoke on a panel about different perspectives on HIV/AIDS Thursday, Dec. 5.

The panel consisted of Chair of the Geography and Environmental Planning Department Virginia Thompson, Marion Hughes, an assistant professor in the department of sociology, anthropology and criminal justice, Ana-Maria Soto, a professor in the chemistry department and Chair of the Health Science Department Laurencia Hutton-Rogers.
The event was a part of World AIDS Week, and was sponsored by the Center for Student Diversity. The professors all talked about AIDS through the lenses of their professions.

Thompson said that geographers see AIDS as a disease that spreads over and through space, not just over time. “[HIV/AIDS] strains the social system, and families, immensely,” she said.

She also showed that AIDS has lowered the average life expectancy of countries that had been showing an improvement before the disease became endemic. Soto talked about the importance of continuing research on AIDS medication, so that mutant strains of the virus do not become resistant to the medication. Hutton-Rogers stressed the importance of education and preventative measures to stop the spreading of HIV/AIDS.

“We don’t all have to die from HIV/AIDS, because it is entirely preventable,” she said. Hutton-Rogers also stressed how important open communication is in regards to AIDS. “If you don’t know what your status is, or that of your partner is, right there – there is an opportunity to exposure [to HIV/AIDS],” she said. Toward the end of the panel, Health Education and Promotion Services Coordinator from Dowell Health Center Courtney Becker talked about AIDS on the Towson University campus. “From what we see in the Health Center, [the prevalence of HIV/AIDS] is rather low,” she said. Becker did mention, however, that screening for HIV/AIDS at the Health Center is “…generally low, despite the fact that [the screening] is free.” Hutton-Rogers mentioned that AIDS Week is not as prominent as it once was. “[AIDS Week] certainly doesn’t make the same kind of visual impact on campus that is used to,” Thompson said. Audience members suggested that might be the case because of a combination of factors, including advances in medicine. “[Knowing someone] perfectly healthy one year, [and] going to a funeral the next year – that doesn’t happen anymore,” Hughes said.

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