Sorority hosts chance for free HIV/AIDS testing

As of 2006, 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV/AIDS, according to

The sorority Delta Sigma Theta will put on its annual AIDS awareness event on campus today, to encourage students to get tested.

The event has been going on for four years to help students become more aware of HIV and AIDS. Students will have the chance to get tested by three testers from the Champaign County Health Department.

To make the atmosphere more comfortable, students will be given a number instead of being called in by name.

Chapter president Erika Collins said calming music will be played in the waiting rooms to lessen the tense atmosphere, and Delta Sigma Theta will raffle off gifts to those who attend, along with providing food and refreshments.

Students will also be given pamphlets and brochures.

A documentary about HIV/AIDS will be played while students wait to be tested. Shawn Peoples, adviser for Delta Sigma Theta, thinks people should be aware of the effects of HIV/AIDS and have the chance to get tested.

“I think it’s important to get tested because it is a prevalent disease in society,” Peoples said. “People who have it can live full lives, but it is important to know it is still a deadly disease and students should protect themselves.”

Peoples said the event is part of Black History Month and Sunday was National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, but anyone can come and get tested. Jantelle Horton, chair of community service for Delta Sigma Theta, said the testing is completely confidential, so that is more of an incentive for students to be aware of their status.

“We believe it is important that people are aware of their health,” Horton said. “People need to be healthy in order to help other people.”

She also said the numbers of those living with HIV/AIDS and those who have died from the disease have been growing, so students should become aware of their health instead of living in silence.

“What you don’t know might kill you,” Horton said.

The event is free and open to anyone wishing to learn more about HIV/AIDS. Testing will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Arcola-Tuscola, Oakland, Sullivan and Shelbyville rooms in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union with registration in the Arcola-Tuscola Room.

Heather Holm can be reached

at 581-7942 or at [email protected].