Maria Davis, who unknowingly contracted HIV from her soon-to-be husband and at one point was in a hospital near death, has since devoted her life to the education of children, young adults, men, and women about AIDS and HIV.
On Wednesday, Dec. 1 to coincide with World AIDS Day 2010, Davis will visit Ferris State University at 6 p.m. to speak in the Rankin Student Center Dome Room. Her presentation, “Sex in the City II”, is sponsored by a coalition led by student organizations You Beautiful Black Woman and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
Davis, as a HIV/AIDS Awareness Specialist, has been featured on Black Entertainment Television (BET), MTV, UPN and CBS. In addition to her presentation, the event will include a panel discussion with nurses from Planned Parenthood and Birkam Health Center. Attendees will be able to ask questions publicly and anonymously as they learn more about Davis’ story and learn more facts about HIV and AIDS.
“I’m infected with a love for music and the idea of seeing myself on stage at the age of 75,” Davis said. “I’m infected with pride in my children and the need to speak out. I’m infected with the belief that I will be here for all of that. I’m infected with HIV.”
Ferris State’s student leaders, motivated by Davis’s passion for this cause and her life story, have been inspired to create greater awareness on campus for HIV/AIDS.
“The bottom line is that people either don’t know or don’t want to know and they are not protecting themselves from a disease that can be prevented,” said Joy Haley, president of YBBW and a Ferris student. “YBBW and Alpha Phi Alpha want to bring awareness to campus about how HIV/AIDS and STDs can be prevented through simple awareness.”
The Michigan Department of Community Health’s July 2010 Quarterly HIV/AIDS Analysis states that there are more than 14,000 men and more than 4,000 women living with HIV/AIDS in the state. More than 6,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Michigan are white, more than 11,000 are black and more than 700 are Hispanic.
“HIV/AIDS doesn’t target one color or race. It’s something that is deadly and can be prevented simply by spreading the word,” said Haley, who added that more than 2,000 people between the ages of 20-24 and more than 800 between the ages of 13-19 were diagnosed with HIV in Michigan.
Gift bags will be provided by BET, Birkam Health Center and Planned Parenthood. The event is free and open to the public through funding by student activity fees as allocated by the Finance Division of Student Government and the Diversity and Inclusion Office.
Anyone with questions should contact (248) 631-8952 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org