The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday January 20th

Latina/o community at UNC promotes awareness of HIV

At the “Spread the Knowledge, Not the Virus” event, students received free condoms and lots of information about sexually transmitted diseases.

The event was held Tuesday night as a part of the Carolina Latina/o Collaborative’s ongoing celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

The event, hosted by the Phi Chapter of Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad/Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc., and the Almighty Alpha Chapter of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc., increased awareness about the spread of HIV in the Latina/o community.

“For this event, we are inviting people to join us about the misconceptions and myths of HIV and AIDS in the Latino community,” said Janet Hah, vice president of Theta Nu Xi.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Latinas/os represent 16 percent of the U.S. population but are disproportionately affected by HIV, accounting for more than 20 percent of new HIV infections in 2010.

The event began with an informal information session, during which speakers invited attendees to ask questions and be a part of the conversation. The session discussed the spread of STDs, treatments and common misunderstandings regarding HIV.

About 30 students attended “Spread the Knowledge, Not the Virus.” After the information session, students were given free condoms and had the opportunity to get tested for HIV and five other STDs for free.

“In North Carolina, Latinos definitely are at a higher risk for the HIV infection than non-Latino whites, so they are disproportionately represented for HIV,” said Dr. Ann Dennis, a professor in the School of Medicine.

Alma Rodriguez, Shavon Flowers and Brittany Grant, from the Alliance of AIDS Services Carolina, spoke about the spread of HIV and other STDs, specifically in the Latina/o community.

“We’re really trying to spread the knowledge. It is a topic that’s not really talked about a lot and it’s so prevalent within minority communities, especially in the Latino community,” said Nayira Warren, president of Lambda Pi Chi. “We really want to hope to start that conversion on this campus.”

Rodriguez said one of the most prevalent misconceptions in the Latino population involves men believing they do not need to be tested for HIV if their female partner has been tested.

“The Latino population especially tends to rely more on the female,” Rodriquez said. “‘Hey, if my wife gets tested, she’s okay, I’m good.’”

The members of Lambda Pi Chi and Theta Nu Xi said they were excited to collaborate to bring this event to campus.

“This is my first time as a member of Theta Nu Xi co-hosting with another organization and we are so excited,” Hah said. “Especially on this particular topic, one you don’t really get to talk about amongst your other peers, we are going to take myths and turn them into facts.”

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