AIDS education important

About 10,000 people in the university’s own county are living with HIV, and half of the newly infected are 15- to 24-year-olds, said Bob Ray Sanders, who will moderate a discussion on the issue today.

A panel of experts in the issue of HIV/AIDS in Tarrant County are coming to speak today about the realities of the deadly disease in the local context.

This is a good chance for college-age students who seem to be one of the targets of this disease to realize AIDS is not as far away of an issue as many may think.

There are many misconceptions and stigmas that are paired with HIV/AIDS, and for the sake of their health, students should clear those clouded judgments by taking the opportunity to ask questions at the panel.

The risks of infection are in many activities that young people engage in, but they may not necessarily think those are risky activities, said Jan Titsworth, the project manager of More Life, a cosponsoring group of the event.

Receiving tattoos and piercings from non-licensed parlors and, for athletes who use steroids, sharing needles are a few of those risks.

Sanders, an adjunct journalism professor and Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist, said a reason for the rise in black and Latino communities in HIV infections, accounting for 65 percent of new cases, is the fact that these communities still perceive a stigma with the issues, contributing to the lack of dialogue and awareness about the issue.

Don’t let the same happen with the college-age demographic. An open, honest discussion about the issue is necessary to combat it, and today’s event presents a perfect opportunity to become informed about a risk that anyone anywhere can face.