Alcorn State University’s (ASU) Health Educators Reaching Other Students, better known as ASU H.E.R.O.S., hosted an informational fair for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on February 7, 2020 in the lobby of the Dr. Clinton Bristow Jr. Dining Hall from 11:00 am through 1:00 pm.
Working with the men of the Delta Kappa Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., ASU H.E.R.O.S. had this event to spread awareness of the high statistics of African Americans being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and what one could do to prevent contracting Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD). Pamphlets filled with alarming statistics were passed out along with different items to bring more awareness and to normalize getting tested and what treatments are available. The main goal of this event was to show students ways to prevent getting an STD. Dajah Moore, a Senior Biology major, expressed that, “The first and safest way to prevent STDs is practicing abstinence. The second is practicing safe sex by using condoms.”
Getting the facts and getting involved can help stop the spreading of STDs. Promoting safe sex can help the numbers of those diagnosed decrease drastically in years to come. Junior, Sherman Bell, stated that, “I learned the importance of HIV and AIDS testing for our community because it affects us so much, and we don’t even realize that days like this are extremely important for raising awareness for this situation.”
This fair was also used as an opportunity to share data and knowledge of heart disease and its symptoms. Heart disease is the number one killer in the African American community. Most people don’t know the signs of a heart attack or stroke, so numerous informational papers were placed on tables for people who wanted to understand the signs. Nutrition and fitness facts were given out as well. Some tips for those who want to live better lives include, control your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy weight, get moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day, choose foods high in fiber and low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar, and ultimately avoid secondhand smoke. If you are the one smoking, stop immediately.