World AIDS Day Hits Sinatra

Dr. Sweeney informs our studets

Dr. Sweeney informs our students

On December 1st,  the crowded halls of Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) were filled with red shirts and bows, but for what occasion? For those who may not know, it was World AIDS day.

World AIDS day is a day dedicated to recognizing HIV/AIDS. Since 1988, this has been a day in which people come together to help the fight against HIV/AIDS, help those living with the virus and remember those who have lost their lives due to this virus.

Considering that there are currently more than 34 million people living with HIV/AIDS, a statistic that keeps on growing, World AIDS day has become a day with a major emphasis on educating people about this virus. Over the years, web sites have been devoted just to information about HIV/AIDS, ranging with info anywhere from how to prevent it, how to get tested and even how to participate with World AIDS day.

There has even been a common theme selected yearly that various organizations try to follow and emphasize to celebrate the day. These themes over the years have ranged anywhere from communication, youth, universal access and humans rights, to now pushing an emphasis on getting the HIV/AIDS statistic down to 0.

This year at FSSA, World AIDS day was recognized with an informational assembly. The assembly featured a talk from the very informative Dr. Monica Sweeney, assistant commissioner, Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

“I talk to anyone who will listen to me speak about HIV/AIDS, whether that’s one person or 1,000 people” stated Dr. Sweeney.

Dr. Monica Sweeney covered a lot of ground centered around AIDS awareness, discussing prevention, education, personal stories, solutions for protecting ourselves and our responsibility with sex education.  Dr. Sweeney discussed the virus, as well as provided many statics and tips for practicing choices a lot more safe and aware rather than uneducated and risky. She even shared that the new goal is to have an AIDS free NYC.

Following Dr. Sweeney’s talk, our very own cast of RENT, previewed two songs and a scene from the upcoming spring musical production. The cast sang “Will I?” and “One Song Glory,” two songs centered around the idea of living with AIDS and questioning life with the virus. RENT is a show centered around the idea of learning to live life with this very virus, an issue many still battle every day.

Whether it’s 1989 on the lower east side or 2015 around the globe, AIDS is a virus that people face everyday and by taking the education to our youth, we are taking the responsibility to step up and help get the statistic down to zero.

— Kristen Nieto ’15