BSU organizes HIV/AIDS rapid testing

December 1, 2007

Alameda County has been under a ‘state of emergency’ since 1998 due to the rapidly increasing number of people becoming infected with HIV/AIDS.

The purpose of the program is to increase awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the biological warfare being waged against our people.
Andrea Spearman

Part of the difficulty in preventing the spread of the disease is the ignorance surrounding testing opportunities and the negative stigma about being screened.

In the interest of the health and well being of students, the Laney Black Student Union (Laney BSU) organized free and confidential HIV/AIDS screening Nov. 14 on the fourth floor of the Student Center.

“The purpose of the program is to increase awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the biological warfare being waged against our people,” said BSU Vice-President Andrea Spearman.

According to statistics, Alameda County is one of the leading areas for HIV/AIDS, especially for women and we thought it would be good to have our men and women take control of their own futures.
Dr. Lawrence Vanhook

“According to statistics, Alameda County is one of the leading areas for HIV/AIDS, especially for women,” said Laney African American Studies Professor Dr. Lawrence Vanhook, “and we thought it would be good to have our men and women take control of their own futures.”

While the organizers originally planned to have 250 students screened, many who registered were unable to be tested as there were not enough supplies and time to test all of those present.

“Over 100 students actually took the test but over 200 registered to be screened,” said Vanhook. “There was an underestimation. Our volunteers from Highland had to go back to get more supplies and some students left without being tested.”

'It is important that students have access to health services at Laney. They didn’t have to travel and it was free.'
Marlene C. Hurd

Still, Student Trustee Marlene C. Hurd was pleased to see that students had an opportunity to be screened on the Peralta District’s flagship campus.

"It is important that students have access to health services at Laney,” said Hurd. “They didn’t have to travel and it was free.”

BSU Historian Lamar Caldwell said “We want to make community and sexual health popular here in Oakland.”

The HIV/AIDS testing was sponsored by Laney African American Studies, Alameda County Medical Services, Associated Students of Laney College, Laney Health Services and Peralta College’s Student Trustees.
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