Residence Halls Hold AIDS Event

College-age students have the highest rate of contracting AIDS in the United States.

Providing free HIV testing, the Bennion Community Service Center, Student Health Service and the Residence Halls Association hosted the Condom Games at the Heritage Center Tuesday.

“It’s important for students to get HIV testing,” said Megan Nibley, director of the campus AIDS project for the Bennion Center. “Even if the student isn’t tested positive, going through the process and visualizing having HIV makes them more careful the next time.”

Last year, about 70 people were tested, and all returned negative. However, numbers for this year are much lower, according to Tricia Bishop, health educator at Student Health Service.

“We only had seven people sign up at health service today, which is a lot less than last year,” Bishop said. “I think both the weather and the date change from World AIDS Day caught students off guard. We probably didn’t advertise as much as we could.”

The date was changed from World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, to Nov. 13 because last year, students received their test results during finals, and this year coordinators didn’t want to add to student stress, Nibley said.

This year, the Condom Games started 45 minutes late because students didn’t begin trickling in for a while.

The games included condom jeopardy, where students answered questions about condoms and sexually transmitted diseases.

Participants also competed in putting condoms on bananas and filling condoms with oranges.

“We want them to have no excuse when students say, ‘The condom wouldn’t fit.’ You can fit four oranges into a condom,” said Todd Justesen, assistant resident director of Chapel Glen.

Many students involved in the Residence Halls Association helped plan and promote the event, Justeen said.

“I’m a floor president at Chapel Glen, and I’ve been trying to get my floor to come out and hopefully learn something,” said Nick Rothacher, a freshman studying biology.

Other students were just passing by and dropped in.

“I just heard about it in the lobby, and I wanted free stuff,” said Natashia Copple, a freshman studying film.

“I had nothing else to do, to be completely honest,” said Aaron Carlson, a freshman studying business.

Students won prizes such as condoms, candy, books and videos for answering questions correctly.

Representatives from health service also handed out packets of condoms and flavored lubricants.

“Free condoms are always a good thing,” said Megan Riffe, a communication freshman.

Refreshments at the event included apple pie and popsicles.

On Saturday, Bennion Center volunteers will bake about 250 pies for the AIDS Foundation to give to HIV-positive Utahns on Thanksgiving. They will also put together condom kits, tie red ribbons and make educational door hangers.

Activities for World AIDS Day include tying red ribbons around trees and shrouding the art in the Union, Nibley said.

For more information about how to get involved, contact the Bennion Center at 581-4811.

[email protected]