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Friday, Oct 31, 2014

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Kellee Terrell

Kellee Terrell

Photographer: Arushi Sharma

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Speaker empowers students to take charge of their sexual health

Kellee Terrell dispels AIDS/HIV myths


Many Ohio University students gathered in Baker University Theater on Monday to observe National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day with Kellee Terrell, the news editor of thebody.com*.

Terrell is a Brooklyn-based journalist, editor and public speaker who writes about HIV/AIDS, pop culture, social justice, racism, health, gender, and politics. Her work has appeared in many national publications and news outlets, including Glamour, Al Jazeera, Essence, Real Health: The Guide To Black Wellness, The Advocate, XXL: Hip Hop Soul, and The Grio.
 
First and foremost, Terrell tackled the numerous myths associated with HIV and AIDS.
 
"There are a lot of misconceptions out there, but the biggest one is that there is a cure for HIV, but only Magic (Johnson) has it," Terrell said. "Also the idea that HIV is a death sentence needs to be eradicated."

She also emphasized the importance of educating people about HIV and AIDS. 

"You can't fight something if you don't know what it is," she said. "It is 100 percent preventable."

The next and possibly most important topic that Terrell discussed was HIV in black America. She called it a "fire that is ravaging the Black community." She also highlighted the fact that the fastest growing population of carriers was young adults between the ages of 13 and 29.

"Poverty is the biggest risk factor for those with HIV," she said. "Due to lack of quality health care and a mistrust of the medical system, people don't get tested as often as they should."

Terrell highlighted the three ways to prevent HIV and AIDS -- safe sex, abstinence and education about the disease.

"Silence, stigma and fear are our biggest enemies," Terrell said. "You need to become a leader in your community to educate people because in the end, no one is coming to save us."

Another point she stressed was condom negotiation. She encouraged students to remember what was at stake and love themselves to put their own health first.

"Take a stand, take control of your sexual health," Terrell said. "It's not as easy as taking a pill every day."

Some attendees found the lecture informational, as well as relatable.

"She was an amazing speaker," said Carina Turner, a senior psychology major. "Some of the things that she pointed out were so basic, but so easily misconstrued."

* Site takes you outside the Ohio University server