World AIDS Day held Dec. 1 to unite people world wide in fight against pandemic

Brittney Fairholm, junior in apparel, merchandising and design, places a red ribbon on art outside of Gerdin on Wednesday, Nov. 30. Art all around the world was covered up to raise awareness of AIDS. 

Katherine Klingseis

Students may notice a lack of art around campus Thursday. All art on campus will be covered up in honor of World AIDS Day.

World AIDS Day is held every Dec. 1 to unite people worldwide in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

On the ISU campus, University Museums is holding a “Day Without Art,” a national event in which museums shut down and people cover up art in response to the AIDS crisis.

An AIDS advocacy group at Iowa State will also be placing red ribbons across campus to spread awareness about the AIDS pandemic.

Deepak Premkumar, a founding member of the ISU AIDS advocacy group and an open option junior, said the group is looking to provide information to people on campus about World AIDS Day and the AIDS crisis.

“A lot of people don’t realize that AIDS is a huge problem both domestically and internationally,” Premkumar said. “We’re looking forward to talking about it and bringing awareness to it.”

Premkumar said the advocacy group formed this summer and has since been attending political events to bring the AIDS crisis to the attention of Republican presidential candidates, like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. He said that the group plans to remain active going into the Iowa caucuses.

“We want to make sure it is known that [AIDS advocacy] is a pressing issue,” Premkumar said.

Dylan Clark, another founding member of the ISU AIDS advocacy group and a sophomore in global resource systems, said the group has both a long term goal and a short term goal.

Clark said the long term goal is to get the U.S. government to increase funding to HIV/AIDS programs, like the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. He said the short term goal is to better engage the public.

“We want to give constituents more of a voice,” Clark said.

If students are interested in becoming involved with the AIDS advocacy group, they should contact Premkumar or Clark for further information.

Although World AIDS Day only lasts for 24 hours, Premkumar said he has dreams far more reaching than just one day.

“We have the means to create the first AIDS-free generation,” he said. “And the time is now.”