On December 1, the UALR Office of Health Services partnered with the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) to celebrate World AIDS Day with the campus community. Marie Sandusky, Director of UALR Health Services, led the committee that planned this day-long celebration featuring educational opportunities, free HIV testing, presentations, and commemorative events.
The $5,517 grant, offered through the ADH’s HIV Prevention Program, supported the day’s many programs. Perhaps most importantly, over 100 individuals were tested for HIV. Health Services showed an educational film on HIV transmission and prevention to those that showed up for testing, and many demonstrated an increase in their knowledge about these topics after viewing it.
One of the other highlights of the day was a speech by Dr. Joycelyn Elders, renowned pediatrician, advocate for sex education, and former surgeon general of the United States. Over 300 people attended Dr. Elders’ presentation.
The event also honored the stories of those living with and those who have lost their lives to AIDS. Health Services displayed two large panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt in the Donaghey Student Center. In addition, screens displaying the names of loved ones lost to HIV/AIDS, submitted by members of the UALR community, were on display in the Ledbetter Assembly rooms throughout the day. Additionally, a panel discussion featuring HIV-positive or at-risk individuals and an HIV expert was held in the afternoon.
Though UALR usually commemorates World AIDS Day, this year’s celebration marked a significant increase in programming. According to Sandusky, “The grant made it possible for us to plan a more expanded event on this day, and we are very pleased with the results.”