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Members of UAlbany community take part in the annual Albany AIDS walk

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By Rose Clegg 

Contributing Writer 

theaspnews@gmail.com 

Walkers at the annual Albany AIDS Walk 2013 in Washington Park on Saturday, Sept. 28, looped around the lake in the park twice and brought many community members out to support the cause.

The walk’s proceeds went to several organizations including the AIDS Council of NENY, the Capital District Gay and Lesbian Community Council and the Pride Center of the Capitol Region.

According to the New York State HIV/AIDS Annual Surveillance report published in 2012, 1,719 people passed away due to HIV/AIDS in 2010 alone. It is a problem that spans age, gender, sexual orientation, racial and ethnic lines. The AIDS Walk is an annual occurrence put on by CARES, Inc. and Community AIDS Partnership of the Capital Region to gather money and support against this disease. To learn more visit caresny.org and click on the AIDS Walk link.

Several clubs from University at Albany participated in the AIDS Walk, including the American Red Cross UAlbany chapter and the Pride group. The Pride group turned the walk into a “Q-bombing” event. “Q- bombing,” is a term coined by the program coordinator for the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center at UA Courtney D’Alliard. “Q-bombing” is when a group of “queer” (an umbrella term for the LGBTQQIA community) people from UAlbany’s Pride group get together at an event and “queer bomb it.” The participating members sported special shirts On the back they read UAlbany and on the front they have a comical bomb with a ‘Q’ on it.

The Pride president and UAlbany senior Sophia Des, organized the members of Pride who attended the AIDS Walk and stated, “I didn’t think so many people would want to go!” The UA Pride group gathered roughly 30 UAlbany students. All of them completed the walk and proudly wore red HIV/AIDS Awareness ribbons.

The CARES, Inc. website says that every nine and a half minutes someone becomes infected with HIV and approximately 20 percent of people infected with HIV do not know they have it. Testing is an important way to help prevent this disease. If you are concerned about your HIV status, tests are available at any sexual health clinic.

A few times a year, on-campus testing is available. The most recent testing was set up by the Department of Residential Life and Project SHAPE (Sexual Health and Peer Education).

The UAlbany LGBTQQIA Pride group meets every Tuesday in the Humanities Building in room 113 at 8 p.m. The meetings generally do not last longer than an hour. If you have more questions regarding HIV/AIDS or testing please contact your local health clinic or visit the UAlbany health clinic.

The UAlbany health center offers confidential HIV testing and those who are interested should call 442-5229 to make an appointment.

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