Simon Fraser University


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World AIDS Day

AIDS Awareness Network co-founders Oghenowede Eyawo (left) and Adam King are anticipating a good crowd at SFU’s first World AIDS Day event Dec. 1.

Student group hosting SFU’s first World AIDS Day event

November 27, 2008

SFU’s AIDS Awareness Network is hosting SFU’s first World AIDS Day event Dec. 1 at the Burnaby campus with a full schedule of information and entertainment aimed at raising awareness about the continuing HIV pandemic.

"It’s a great opportunity to dispel some of the myths and misperceptions out there about HIV/AIDS, even among otherwise well-informed students," says Oghenowede Eyawo, who co-founded the AIDS Awareness Network last September with fellow health sciences grad student, Adam King.

"For example, a lot of people don’t know that HIV infection rates are still on the rise in Canada," adds King. "Or they think it’s totally controllable because of treatment advances, when the truth is that HIV complications still lead to premature death for thousands of Canadians every year."

SFU VP-academic Jonathan Driver will open the event, which runs from 11:30 am–4 pm in Maggie Benston Centre, featuring speakers and discussion panels, storytellers, musicians and dancers—all volunteering their time to raise awareness about local and international HIV/AIDS issues.

Throughout World AIDS Day, now in its 20th year, more than 15 local and international HIV/AIDS-related organizations such as UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders and AIDS Vancouver will staff information booths to share and exchange information.

The event’s first speakers’ panel, running from noon–1 pm, will address international HIV/AIDS issues, while a second panel from 3-4 pm will address local issues. An African dance performance and workshop will be held from 1:45-2:15 pm.

The event will finish with a fundraising concert from 4–9 pm at the Highland Pub featuring Vancouver bands Sunny Vendetta, Hillstation and 12:55.

According to 2005 statistics from the Public Health Agency of Canada, 58,000 people are currently living with HIV in Canada. AIDS has killed more than 25 million people worldwide by some estimates, and almost 40 million people are living with HIV. By Stuart Colcleugh