Denise Stokes to Speak During SC State's HIV/AIDS Awareness Week

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Denise StokesAccording to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has claimed more than 575,000 lives. Nearly 30 years into the HIV epidemic, HIV continues to take a heavy toll in the United States. More than 1.1 million people are currently living with HIV; nearly 18,000 people with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) still die each year. In South Carolina, almost 15,000, including nearly 200 children and teens, are living with HIV infection or AIDS. African-Americans face the most brutal burden of HIV in the United States.

This year, SC State’s Brooks Health Center presents a week of educational activities regarding HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS activist Denise Stokes will share her heartfelt story of how she contracted HIV/AIDS and why she chose to be an advocate, educating youth and adolescents about the disease. She will speak on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium located on the campus of SC State University.

By building upon her life experience, which includes living with HIV for 25 years, she shares her story in venues across the nation. As a result of advocating at a very young age, Stokes put a face on heterosexual HIV infection in the 1980’s. Now 38 years old, she presents to many professional and educational groups across the country and keeps her message fresh and relevant to the audience she is addressing.

Stokes served as a member of the HIV/AIDS Advisory Council and advised former President Bill Clinton on national AIDS Policy. She has spoken at two Democratic National Conventions, including the 2004 Democratic National Convention on behalf of John Kerry. She is an active member of several boards of directors for community-based groups, and is the spokesperson for BET’s Rap-It-Up Campaign.

Stokes is an emerging writer, with work contributed to James Adler’s, “Memento Mori – An AIDS Requiem,” and she is currently in the process of completing a powerful autobiography. She also recently released an exciting spoken word project entitled “Elevation.” Although her career is magnified by major achievements and constant media appearances, Stokes keeps her focus and stays grounded. She actively mentors other HIV peers and makes volunteer commitments on a regular basis. With an endless amount of enthusiasm, Stokes continues to vividly speak for the rights of people disenfranchised by the HIV epidemic, addiction, homophobia and racism. She also carries a passionate message of prevention and awareness to the world.

SC State’s Brooks Health Center continues to empower students with information and awareness activities that are exhilarating and informative. “At Brooks Health Center, our main objective is to educate our students by presenting them with the facts about various diseases and ways that they can protect themselves and make the right choices,” says Pinkey Carter, nurse administrator for Brooks Health Center.

The following activities will take place during HIV/AIDS Awareness Week:

Monday, Feb. 7, 2011
HIV/AIDS Awareness and Testing
Brooks Health Center
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011
Health Session with Low Country Healthy Start (LCHS)
Sojourner Truth Residential Hall
7 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011
Health Session with Low Country Healthy Start (LCHS)
Annie B. Williams Residential Hall
7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011
HIV/AIDS activist Denise Stokes
Martin Luther King, Jr. Auditorium
7:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 11, 2011 - Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011
“Nurturing the Tree of Life” training with the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council
Selected students from Morris College in Sumter, S.C. and Voorhees College in Denmark, S.C. will host this training session.

For additional information about HIV/AIDS Awareness Week, contact Pinkey Carter at (803) 536-7055, or Brooks Health Center at (803) 536-7053.