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December 06, 1991 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-12-06

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 6, 1991 - Page 5

* rblems
by Henry Goldblatt for Uni
Daily Administration Reporter time c
Most students think they can't meet w
1get AIDS'because they are young and testing
have a tough immune system. and tre
Or because they are not gay, or tests pC
aren't IV drug users. receive
Or because they have been in one said.
relationship "for a long time." Paul
But people with AIDS or the shouldv
HIV virus disagree. risky se
"I lost my virginity and got the for HIV
disease in one night - it was a ban- encouni
Ser night," said Pat, a local resident cent ac
who contracted the virus in 1982. recom
"If ... education had been avail- months.
able in 1982, I might have used a percent
condom," he added. AIth
Pat is one of more than 100 peo- ment c
ple who have tested HIV-positive in testing,
Washtenaw county - 20 of whom tinuesi
were tested at University Health priority
Services (UHS) since the center be- Paul
g9h testing in 1987. peer ed
* A joint study done by the Amer- trained
ican College Health Association halls an
and the Center for Disease Control student
found that 2.3 out of every 1,000 "Th
college students tested positive for get the
the HIV antibody, which usually problem
leads to the full-blown AIDS virus. you can
A college student might look at The
this figure and think he or she is not grams ti
at risk because it appears small. "We
"I was a virgin. It only takes academ
once," Pat said. could re
Prevention through ple -p
education in the r
UHS Director Dr. Caesar Briefer Indi
said professional basketball star availabi
Magic Johnson's recent announce- Gay N
ment that he tested HIV-positive (LGMP
sparked a massive rush of people to LG
Health Services who wanted to be said HI'
tested. ject to
During the week of November heteros
W11-15, Health Services tested 81 cause t
people and turned 45 away due to an mentc
overflow of requests. In compari- orientat
son, Health Services tested approx- "If a
imately 30 people per week between HIV-po
June 1990 and June 1991 - a total worse,"
of 1,437 people. Briefer added the Toy
numbers have fallen off since John- Wellne
son's initial announcement. suppor
"As soon as you have anything refers p
Othat tends to increase public aware- counsel
ness of a problem you get an increase Des
in interest and concern," he said. curring
Polly Paulson, health education awaren
coordinator for UHS, said that "Th
Health Services provides free and ing to m
anonymous HIV antibody testing ing safe




versity students. Seven part-
ounselors are employed to
ith clients before and after
to discuss safe sex practices
atment options if a client
ositive. A person generally
s results in three weeks, she
son stressed that people
wait several months after a
exual encounter to be tested
. Three months after such an
ter, the test is 80 to 85 per-
:curate. However, Paulson
mends people wait six
when the test is 95 to 99
ough Johnson's announce-
aused an increase in AIDS
Paulson said education con-
to be the center's first
son coordinates a safe-sex
ucation program, in which
volunteers go to residence
nd Greek houses to educate
s about AIDS transmission.
e programs are an effort to
word out that ... there is a
n ... and there is something
do about it," Paulson said.
group has facilitated 29 pro-
his semester, she said.
are trying to get into the
ic classroom. We think we
each a greater number of peo-
people not necessarily living
esidence hall," Paulson said.
vidual counseling is also
le through the Lesbian and
Male Programs Office
OPO co-coordinator Jim Toy
V-positive gay men are sub-
more discrimination than
exuals who test positive be-
hey face additional harass-
on the basis of sexual
person is suspected of being
sitive the discrimination is
Toy said.
also serves on the board for
ss Huron Valley, an AIDS
t center in Ypsilanti, and
people who desire additional
ing to that organization.
pite the education that is oc-
many experts said the
ess level is low.
e thing that is most frustrat-
me is that people are not hav-
sex and there is so much ig-

norance about it," said Joe, a local
resident who tested HIV-positive.
Deborah Orlowski, a representa-
tive of the University's Affirma-
tive Action Office, said that general
knowledge about the disease is often
"I am a little disturbed by the
Magic Johnson thing. People are
saying that we need to use condoms.
However, condoms are not fail-safe
... and you need to use condoms and a
spermicide like Nonoxinal 9," she
LSA senior and peer educator
Seth Persky said that he finds vari-
ous levels of knowledge in students.
"People know the basics. It was

t the6 U'
group with HIV," she said. "I feel
safer sex education is relevant be-
cause people who are HIV-positive
need information to know how to
protect other people."
David Ostrowe, associate profes-
sor of psychiatry and Director of the
Midwest AIDS Biobehavioral Re-
search Center, said the University is
lagging behind other universities in
AIDS-preventative education.
"The University is the largest
public university that does not have
an active AIDS program funded by
the university regents," he said.
He added that a new task force
should be created to develop AIDS
programming on campus.

Maurer said, and when employees
ask about it, they are told it is not
Nor is the staff knowledgeable
about basic HIV transmission pre-
vention, she said.
However, Candace Friedman, the
hospital's manager of infection con-
trol services, said all employees
watch an AIDS information video
and new employees are also given
In addition, she said, "Certain
employees who may have a risk of
handling blood or bodily fluid ...
receive routine training."
Friedman said additional HIV
training is decided on a departmen-
tal level. Employees most at risk
receive the most training, she
But Ostrowe maintained that
Universitv Hosnital emnnvees are

like Magic
It came and went as fast as the
roadrunner, didn't it? You
remember - the Much Ado


About Magic.
Not even
a month after
' the frenzied
media hype
over basket-
ball star
bold decision
to disclose
his HIV
status to the
world, it
looks like it's
over. Not 30


with the Magic Johnson thing the
questions really changed. It used to
be, 'How can you get this and if you
get it what can you do,"' Persky
said. "Now, it's more like 'this can
happen to me.' The focus is more on
themselves and ... the realization
heterosexuals do get it and can die
from it."
But the epidemic has spurred be-
havioral changes as well as discus-
"For the first time in my life, I
had second thoughts about pursuing
a girl that I met in a bar, not know-
ing her past history," said LSA.
sophomore Rob Light.
University policy
Five years ago, the University
AIDS Task Force was charged with
finding a policy for the treatment of
HIV-positive employees and stu-
dents. The task force, now defunct,
adopted a policy framed by the
American College Health Associa-
Although Paulson was unhappy
that the original task force did not
include a person with AIDS among
its members, she said it could still
be useful "to monitor how the
spirit of this policy is being
The policy bans discrimination in
admissions decisions and educa-
tional settings. Furthermore, it
prohibits mandatory testing of stu-
dents, staff and faculty.
Despite the policy, many criti-
cize the University for not taking a
pro-active role in AIDS education
and for not publicizing the policy
widely enough.
Pattrice Maurer, a member of the
AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power
(ACT-UP), said the group has pre-
sented a number of demands to the
University, including widespread
safe sex education.
"This is particularly critical be-
cause youth are the fastest growing

Toy, from LGMPO, said the
University should reach out to the
community to increase awareness.
"The University in my opinion
needs to do a general mailing every
fall about AIDS and about the
stigmatization of the matter and
telling people to behave in an ethi-
cal way toward these people."
But Orlowski said these ideas,
while important, are impractical in
a large, decentralized University
"Even if the president stood up
and said 'I want to make HIV educa-
tion a number-one priority' this
does not mean that it is going to
happen because the University is so
decentralized," Orlowski said.
"It is very difficult to educate
people at the University, perhaps
because we haven't found the right
vehicle. Even when things are avail-
able people are not taking advan-
tage," she added.
Orlowski said the University
should take a more pro-active role in
residence hall education and increase
funding for costly programming.
Hospital training
University staff and ACT-UP
members criticize the University
Hospital for the lack of education it
provides to its staff and for what
they call an unwelcome climate to-
ward people with AIDS and the
HIV virus.
Toy said he has heard complaints
from people with AIDS who have
received treatment from the Uni-
versity Hospital regarding the atti-
tudes of staff members and their
lack of knowledge.
"I have known people with
AIDS and HIV who were hospital
employees, all of whom chose to
seek treatment elsewhere because
treatment at the hospital was so
bad," Maurer said.
Adequate education is not being
provided to all hospital employees,

not properly trained. "People who
are working with patients don't
have enough education," he said.
Laura Kaufman, a nurse practi-
tioner in the hospital's Employee
Health Services, which provides
anonymous HIV testing for Uni-
versity employees, said not all the
nurses who perform HIV tests are
HIV-certified, but added that a
nurse does not have to be certified to
She said, however, that the nurses
are better educated than people who
are not involved in HIV testing.
"We don't know that everyone is
well educated. The people who do
direct patient care are more educated
than people who don't."
But Toy said this action is not
enough. He suggested a mass train-
ing of all hospital employees on is-
sues surrounding AIDS and the HIV
"Every new hire of the medical
center needs to go through routine
training about AIDS," he said.
Living with
While the debate over Univer-
sity policies and University Hospi-
tal practices continue, people are
more concerned than ever with the
virus' immediate effect on their
"You have to be really careful
with everything you do. I even feel
nervous using public facilities,"
said LSA sophomore Christine
Warner. "It's sad that we have to
live in this type of world."
However, some live with fear on
a constant basis. "I found out I was
HIV-positive five years ago Febru-
ary," Joe said at the World AIDS
Day Panel discussion Tuesday.
"That was devastating news - it
still is devastating news on a day-
to-day and moment-to-moment
- Daily Staff Reporter Lauren
Dermer contributed to this story

days after the press conferences,
after the editorial columns that
read more like eulogies than
anything else, or - most impor-
tantly - after we pricked our
collective consciousness to the
reality and danger of AIDS,
America has fallen back into the
status quo.
Nowhere was this more
evident to me than right here on
In the first few days after
Magic made his stunning an-
nouncement, and pledged a
nationwide AIDS education
campaign, the University's
hallowed halls were buzzing with
talk about AIDS. In classes and
cafeterias, and in libraries and
lounges, whether students thought
Magic was morally right or wrong
in his predicament, they were
reminding themselves that AIDS
isn't just a disease that other
people get, something only
homosexuals and IV drug-users
have to worry about. It's
everybody's problem.
That renewed awareness
reflected pretty brightly over at
University Health Services, too.
Requests for AIDS tests in the
week immediately after Magic's
announcement were "substantially
higher" than during other weeks,
according to UHS officials. And
store clerks at the Village
Apothecary on South University
reported increased condom sales.
But now, the pro-awareness
kick is fizzling. I don't hear so
much talk about AIDS around
campus anymore - not in the
libraries, not in the cafeterias, not
even here at the Daily. This past
Tuesday was World AIDS Day,
and most students opted to study
for upcoming final exams instead
of attending any of the campus
At Health Services, the mad
rush for AIDS tests has also
calmed. Dr. Cy Briefer, Director
at UHS, said the big interest
seems to have passed.
Briefer added that what
disturbs him even more about
students' apparent flash-in-the-
pan reaction to Magic is the lack
of change in everyday behavior
that he sees.
"In all the data we have, it
looks like most students generally
have a high knowledge of AIDS
and how it's transmitted," he said.
"The big problem, though, is
getting them to translate that
knowledge into behavior."
Briefer said students' social
habits sometimes conflict with
good sense in terms of AIDS
awareness. We aren't very likely
to be involved in long-term,
monogamous relationships; we
have an admittedly foolish sense
of invincibility; and when alcohol
or other drugs are involved, we
often throw caution to the wind
and indulge ourselves unwisely
and unsafely.
And you can see it in any
social circle on campus. House
parties, the greek system, bars,
you name it.
It's not so much that we don't
know, but that we act like we
don't know.
Marc Zimmerman, an assistant
professor of health behavior and
education, agreed.
"Many college students still
think they won't get it - they
think we're past the real scare,"
he said. "That's potentially very
dangerous behavior."

And a change in that behavior
isn't very hard.
It doesn't mean we have to
nractice abstinence. And it

Top: Panels of the
Names Project AIDS
Memorial Quilt are on
display at the Jewish
Community Center in
West Bloomfield.
Above left: Blood
samples are being
placed in a centrifuge
at Health Services
I nhnratnrv Tha hlnn e

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