Alpha Kappa Alpha executes Operation 196
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 19:10
The Zeta Lambda chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha hosted a raw and uncut forum, Operation 196, as a part of their Breast Cancer Awareness Week. Soror Hailey Beamon opened with a poem spoken in first-person about a naïve woman exposed to an STD. She and Soror LaRanda Washington proceeded to ask trivia questions, giving audience members a chance to win a prize.
After a little competition, the ladies touched basis and educated the audience about the most prominent diseases on UTM’s campus: chlamydia and gonorrhea. These two diseases are curable, but have detrimental effects if left untreated. Beamon and Washington reminded everyone about the 196% STD increase that has been the booming talk around campus since last month. They also explained that viral STDs such as HPV and HIV are rarely found on this campus, but have been diagnosed.
Another interesting portion of the forum was STD myths. Here, many falsehoods were cleared up, such as whether you can have only one STD at a time or if HIV is a homosexual disease. Both of these myths [out of numerous myths] are absolutely false. A person can, in fact, contract more than one STD at a time, and HIV is diagnosed in more heterosexual individuals than of those who have same-sex preferences. Wearing a latex condom is an effective way to reduce the chances of contracting an STD. For those who really want to play it safe, abstinence is the surest way to prevent an STD.
Things took a turn when Beamon and Washington showed a YouTube video. The video was a testimony from a heterosexual, African-American woman named Renee who was in a committed marriage. Renee arrived at her OBG-YN appointment during her pregnancy to find out that she was diagnosed with HIV. In fact, she had contracted the virus from her husband. This sparked quite a reaction throughout the entire room. “Don’t think because you are in a monogamous relationship or married that it can’t happen to you,” Renee said. Many people are unaware that knowing your HIV status and not telling your partner is a felony crime in most states throughout the U.S.
Then, the audience was given a reality check when a sexual exposure chart was shown. This chart revealed the number of indirect sex partners a person has been exposed to according to the number of actual sex partners. The numbers were shocking to those there.
When the floor was opened for discussion and questions, there were no filters. Comments were raw and uncut. Those who were not in attendance missed out on an amazing opportunity to be better educated, or even be reminded of how valuable our health is. It is safe to say that there was not one person who left the forum without being thought-provoked and reassured that no one is invincible from contracting an STD. Be more careful, get tested and value your health.