AIDS Awareness Week offers music, comedy

By Gus Bode

Comic, lecturer to perform on campus on World AIDS day

Factoid:Free, confidential AIDS testing will be held at the Newman Catholic Center beginning Tuesday and ending Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. All AIDS Awareness events are free.

This year’s World AIDS Day is campaigning with the tagline “Women, Girls, HIV and AIDS,” focusing on female vulnerability to the disease, cutting to the heart of the worldwide epidemic and its debilitating effects it has had on the female population across the globe.


To bring awareness to the campus about the epidemic, Student Programs and Center Events is sponsoring the SIUC AIDS Awareness Week beginning Tuesday. A few of the week’s highlight will include information tables, free AIDS testing, a blues band performance, lectures, choir performances and a comedy show.

According to the UNAIDS website, a program advocating for global action against the AIDS epidemic, young women are more susceptible to HIV than men, with studies showing they can be 2.5 times more likely to be HIV-infected than their male counterparts. The site also states that according to the new UNAID/WHO report, close to half of the 37.2 million adults living with HIV are women.

“It’s really about trying to touch as many people out there and to inform them about HIV,” said AIDS Week coordinator Yolanda Riley.

Information tables will be set up from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Student Center until Thursday. Health Resource professionals will also be available to answer questions and provide additional information. Students can also visit the Newman Catholic Center throughout the week for free confidential AIDS testing.

Information will also be available throughout the week by the program, “Be an Angel for Children Living with AIDS.” People can find out how to donate gifts for the holidays for children living with the disease.

Mike DeStefano, a comedian and lecturer from New York, will be performing Wednesday, which coincides with World AIDS Day. Riley said she describes DeStefano’s humor as “down to earth” and “natural.”

“It’s a good blend of humor and seriousness at the same time,” she said. “I think it’s one of the better ways to inform people.”


According to the website, nearly five million adults and children will become infected with HIV by the end of the year. That number adds to the estimated 39.4 million people worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS.

Riley said she believes this week is about informing people and creating tolerance for the disease.

“If we can get just one person to exercise healthier choices, it will feel like we’ve gotten through,” she said.