In honor of World AIDS Day, the National Council for Negro Women, the Black Student Union and Creatives of Color presented the HIV Monologues Sunday night to teach students and faculty about the disease that affects millions of people around the world. The Department of Afroamerican and African Studies and the University of Michigan Museum of Art co-sponsored the event, which was held at the Helmut Stern Auditorium.
Using spoken-word poetry, skits, music and monologues, the monologue performers created a space to destigmatize those afflicted with the disease and educate the audience about the realities of HIV/AIDS.
The night began with a moment of silence to remember the millions lost from HIV/AIDS, followed by a question posed to the audience: Why should you care? A presentation highlighted the current reality of HIV/AIDS in the United States, which has particularly impacted the African-American community. In 2015, African Americans made up 44 percent of all new HIV diagnoses. The event then moved into the speaker section of the night.
The first speaker was Nesha Haniff, an educator in the departments of women’s studies and Afroamerican and African studies. Haniff’s speech centered around low representation of women in the discussion of HIV/AIDS prevention.
“The methodologies developed for women to prevent them from having HIV and STI infections are not very well developed and they are very, very unfriendly,” Haniff said. “And so, as a result, women become more vulnerable to infections like STIs and HIV.”