AIDS Awareness Week events begin today

By Gus Bode

Nothing will stop Amy Peradotta from planting 2,454 red, pink and white flags in the lawn of the Student Center at 1 p.m. today.

“We will be out there, rain or shine,” said Peradotta, a coordinator for SIUC’s AIDS Awareness Week, which starts today and ends Friday.

The planting will mark the start of AIDS Awareness Week, sponsored by the Student Programming Council, Student Center Special Programs and Center Events and the Jackson County Health Department.


The flags will represent the 40 million people who live with AIDS worldwide.

“The pink flags will represent women. We’re trying to raise awareness, especially among women, to help with their decisions to help prevent AIDS,” Peradotta said.

The week features health fairs, free HIV tests, speakers and workshops.

Three speeches will discuss the impact of AIDS on society, and especially women, Peradotta said.

Student Health Center coordinator Christy Hamilton’s workshop, “Sex in the Dark,” is geared toward the entire population. The workshop will offer a chance for people to get answers to sex questions.

“It will allow participants to be able to ask questions in a more anonymous manner regarding something they’ve either always wanted to know (but) never had the opportunity to ask, or were too embarrassed to ask,” Hamilton said.

Once attendees have been seated, they will be given slips of paper on which they can write their questions. Once the papers are collected, the lights will be turned off. Presenters will have flashlights and will answer questions from the slips of paper.


Hamilton said this prevents attendees from looking for incriminating body language and preserve the anonymity.

Hamilton has given workshops of this type before and said she has gotten a gamut of questions dealing with topics that ranged from sexual behavior to myths and misconceptions.

She said she is glad to have the opportunity to help with the week.

“We want people to know about their testing options and how to make responsible decisions regarding their health and sexual decision making,” Hamilton said.

Sarah Lohman can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 255 or [email protected]