In recognition of Monday’s 20th annual World AIDS Day, the Northern Colorado AIDS Project worked with CSU students and faculty to produce a video that aims to de-stigmatize and inform students about the spreading AIDS epidemic.
The video, which is the result of combined efforts from three journalism students, a CSU alumnus, two CSU faculty and members of NCAP, tells the stories of three people living with HIV in northern Colorado and three people living with HIV in Africa.
World AIDS Day Committee Chair Shauna DeLuca said the video dispels stigma in its observation of similarities between AIDS in Africa and the U.S. and means to make young students more aware of a disease — of which, she said, they are at an increasing risk of infection.
“College kids are almost complacent because time has placed them in ignorance,” she said. “I come across more students than not who never learned about AIDS in high school.”
DeLuca said myths and preconceived notions about the virus are widespread in younger generations, as are a false sense of separation from the threat of infection results.
“(Students and young people) all think it can’t happen to them,” she said. “This isn’t a disease that picks someone because it doesn’t like them. It can affect anyone.”
The three senior journalism students that have been working on the video for the past two months — Justin Vaughn, Malory Pett and Jessica Stentz — all agreed that much was learned from the experience.
“I was surprised to see that it’s still such a big issue in the U.S.,” Pett said. “Mainstream media really doesn’t talk about it.”
The three worked on the video for credit in their class, JTC 544: Corporate and Institutional Media Production.
“It was a very eye opening experience,” Stentz said. “It’s amazing how little people know about AIDS.”
The video also covers the daily operations and services that NCAP offers to the community and shows how simple it is to extract a fingertip blood sampling for an HIV test.
“I was really surprised when they told me the test was only 10 minutes,” Vaughn said. “I didn’t know it could be done so fast.”
Vaughn and Pett also recorded their own guitar and violin music as a soundtrack for the video.
After staying up long nights, sometimes working from 1 p.m. to 2 a.m., the students have collectively put almost 100 hours into the project and are ready to show it today at 3:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center, room 230.
The scenes filmed in Africa were prepared by a CSU alumnus now active in the Peace Corps, Lisa Balland.
Members of NCAP, including Director Jeff Basinger, helped facilitate interviews with those infected in northern Colorado.
“For so many people, recognition comes once a year, and for 364 days of the year, we all go back to not being bothered,” Basinger said in an interview last month. “NCAP staff is here 365 days a year, and for us the problem doesn’t just go back into the closet.”
Staff writer Trevor Simonton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.