Students participate in World AIDS Day

This is the fifth year AMSA is holding events about AIDS awareness.

 Dr. Patrick Schlievert discusses Glycerol Monolaurate, which could be used to decrease the risk of exposure to Sexually Transmitted Infections, in Moos Towers Monday.

Dr. Patrick Schlievert discusses Glycerol Monolaurate, which could be used to decrease the risk of exposure to Sexually Transmitted Infections, in Moos Towers Monday.

Jessica Van Berkel

Dr. Alan Lifson is discussing the global pandemic of HIV/AIDS on Tuesday in Moos Tower, one of thousands of events that will take place across the globe as organizations seek to raise awareness on World AIDS Day. The Minnesota Department of Health has about 20 AIDS awareness events in Minnesota on its Web site, but the number has waned from previous years, MDH spokesman Roy Nelson said. âÄúItâÄôs not going away even though the awareness and publicity is,âÄù Nelson said. From Jan. 1 to Sept. 30 the MDH saw a 27 percent increase in AIDS in Minnesota over the same period in 2008, Nelson said. The biggest increase was in the 13-year-old to 25-year-old population, he said. LifsonâÄôs speech at the University of Minnesota is the second in a weeklong AIDS lecture series hosted by University student groups. His speech will be the only one to focus specifically on the global problem with AIDS, American Medical Student Association (AMSA) President Cori Russell said. FridayâÄôs lecture is on âÄúWhy HIV Still Matters in MinnesotaâÄù and will feature a speaker from the MDH, Nelson said. This is the fifth year AMSA is holding events about AIDS awareness, and the turnout for the first lecture, about 100, was unexpected, Russell said. The lectures are co-sponsored by the Infectious Disease Interest Group and StudentsâÄô International Health Committee, and the students invited the four medical school classes and other branches of the Academic Health Center, like pharmacy and public health, Russell said. MondayâÄôs lecture was primarily attended by medical students. Derek Smith, a medical student and attendee, said he heard about the event in class and plans on going to other AIDS lectures that week. The week will conclude with a jazz trio concert Saturday at the Varsity Theater, featuring two medical students and a faculty member. The proceeds will go to Tiny Tim and Friends, an HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment program for children in Zambia founded by Dr. Tim Meade. Meade is a former University professor who now lives in Zambia. Students chose the international organization to receive the funds because three students volunteered with the group over the summer, Russell said. The group anticipates that about 300 people will attend SaturdayâÄôs concert, which is more than double last yearâÄôs attendance. AMSA will have about 50 awareness events for different topics this year, she said. There has not been much progress with treating AIDS, although it is well known and a problem everywhere, Russell said. Raising awareness in Minnesota is important because of the large immigrant population in Minnesota with a high rate of infectious diseases, AMSA member Joe Schmidt said. Minnesota Department of Health data from Dec. 31, 2008, shows 6,220 people were living in Minnesota with HIV/AIDS.