Local News

Shaw Students Tackle HIV Issue After Recent Study

Posted February 18, 2004

— Some Shaw University students are now educating themselves about HIV and AIDS, but many of their peers are not listening.

Researchers with the University of North Carolina found 84 newly infected male college students over the past three years, of which all but 11 were African-American. Some students recently attended an open forum at Shaw University about HIV/AIDS and abstinence, but the room was far from packed.

"I noticed as I passed out fliers, a lot of people are scared and they don't want to face reality. They're like, I know it's happening, but I'm not going," sophomore Ebony Johnston said.

"Most everyone is carried away with pop culture," junior Tuvares Thompson said. "Instant gratification seems to be the order of the day and discipline seems to be a party pooper right now."

Fred Wiggins, who has been living with AIDS for nearly 10 years, said it pains him to hear an increasing number of black male college students have followed in his footsteps, but he is not surprised.

"When I was diagnosed, I said it would not happen to me because I was very careful about what I did, but low and behold, it happened to me," he said.

Wiggins hopes today's students will learn from his mistakes from years ago. Some are getting that message. The students said they are not sure what it will take to reach their peers, but they will do their part.

According to the report, the young men on college campuses with HIV are gay, but also have relationships with women.

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