As the AIDS/HIV epidemic falls from the public light in the United States, a Carleton Chapter of FACE AIDS was founded last spring to promote student awareness and activism of how the issue is still a pressing issue in both throughout the world.
Focusing specifically on AIDS/HIV, FACE AIDS is a branch of Partners in Health, a nation non-profit organization dedicated to public health on a global scale.
According to co-founders of the Carleton chapter, Emily Ager ‘13 and Flannery McArdle ‘13, the organizations “work to empower youth to fight HIV/AIDS both in the US and Rwanda.”
Ager and McArdle developed the idea of founding the FACE AIDS chapter last fall-term while in a Community Health and Social Policy study abroad program in Africa.
During her stay, Ager worked in a rural HIV clinic learning how AIDS/HIV is treated in parts of the world where there is limited access to healthcare.
Similarly, McArdle studied how children care for parents with AIDS compared to children caring for parents with other diseases.
Both came away from their experiences greatly affected by what they had seen and learned about AIDS.
“It was the first time I really saw the extent to which HIV can devastate a family, a community, a country,” said McArdle. “It was just seeing the huge impact that this disease had on all levels of society that got me involved in FACEAIDS.”
Upon their return, they decided to found the FACE AIDS chapter; “I needed that experience to translate to something here in MN,” said McArdle.
Currently, the FACE AIDS chapter is focused on fundraising and promoting student awareness on campus. Their goal is to raise $2500 to support 65 health workers at a rural HIV clinic in Africa, which will help it to provide basic services and medicine services for a year. Additionally, the group works with a FACE AIDS student chapter in Rwanda.
So far, FACE AIDS has put on pancake fundraisers late at night during the weekends in Sayles, as well as held a profit share event with Hogan Brothers.
During 8th week of winter term, FACE AIDS plans to hold an AIDS awareness week, which will include a concert in The Cave featuring both student and staff bands.
One concern that Ager and McArdle want to change with the Carleton chapter is the notion that AIDS and HIV are no longer as serious concerns to public health in the US. Instead, they believe AIDS should still be a major domestic concern, especially since, as McArdle said, “Washington DC has a higher AIDS rate than Rwanda.”