Maynor is a licensed public nurse and communicable disease specialist for the Chatham County Health Department. Washington is a peer advocate on the the topic of HIV/AIDS, and is herself HIV-positive.
“College is the age where people get their first taste of freedom,” Maynor said. “People are away from home for the first time, many of them don’t have curfews, and they’re right in the age bracket where people are first being exposed to sex and AIDS.”
Washington has fought HIV for the past decade and came close to dying from it back in 2001.
“I was given three months in 2001, but I managed to get past the disease, and I’ve had it under control since then,” Washington said.
This included some rather graphic photography of those unfortunate enough to be afflicted with such conditions.
They explained that while HIV often results from people simply having unprotected intercourse with multiple partners, the disease is not exclusively a sexually transmitted disease.
People have contracted it through such means as receiving blood transfusions from HIV victims. The disease affects some two billion people worldwide, roughly one-third of the world’s population, including some 2.2 million Americans, 49 percent of whom are African-American.
Maynor and Washington admonished the students not to engage in intercourse without protection and advised students to get tested for STD’s if the opportunity presents itself.
“We received a request to come and speak at AASU, which is what we do across the country, and if even one person goes and takes a test or practices safe sex as a result, it is worth it to prevent the spread of HIV,” Maynor said. “We’re in a situation now where we also have better health care, better meds and more information on the topic than before, so people are much better prepared to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS and to overcome it if they are afflicted with it.”