Blair students and health teacher Susan Soule attended the World AIDS Day conference at Georgetown University to help form this year's AIDS peer education program.
The 11 Blair students left early Friday morning to attend the all day AIDS conference. At the conference students from all over the Washington-Metropolitan area listened to various speakers talk about their different interactions with HIV/AIDS.
The speakers ranged from doctors to a patient panel of five people living with HIV/AIDS. The first doctor was John Hogan from the Upper Cardoza Health Center and the second doctor was Luther Virgil from Providence Hospital. They both spoke about the technical side of AIDS such as the contraction, symptoms, and treatment of AIDS.
The next speaker was Zaida Cruz from the American Red Cross. Soule then took the podium to talk about Blair's own peer education program. Soule gave directions to the audience on how to start a peer education program at one's own school.
According to the students who went the five patients in the panel were amazing speakers, full of information, and very open. "The panel was the best one I have seen in the four years I have been going," said Soule. They each told their individual stories and then took questions from the audience. "They had a really positive outlook on life," said Senior Kyra Alvez Moats. She thought that the conference really grounded people and made them recognize the impact of the virus. "[The panel] really showed that anyone can get [AIDS]," Moats commented.
In the afternoon students attended workshops and learned about different aspects of AIDS such as psycho-social and immunology. But according to senior Ben Woo, the best workshop was the patient panel.
The patient panel workshop involved students sitting with patients and talking to them about anything they wanted. Woo thought that the other workshops were "informative" but that it was good to see such a variety on the patient panel. "There was a gay Hispanic man, a straight white woman, a straight black woman, a gay black man, and a straight black man," said Woo.
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