Free testing and counseling offered at World AIDS Day

On Dec. 5 at 5 p.m. the Portland State Association of African Students will host World AIDS Day. The event will be held in the Smith Memorial Student Union ballroom and will be free and open to the public.

Four local health agencies have teamed up with the Association of African Students to help put on World AIDS Day and all plan to table at the event, including Planned Parenthood, the African Women’s Coalition, Multnomah County and the African American AIDS Awareness Action Alliance.

Some of the main events of the day will include a speech about the effects AIDS has on people’s lives, followed by a cultural fashion show that will include 30 models and five designer collections.

“Everyone in the fashion show from the models to the designers are doing it completely on a voluntary basis,” said Wienta Mebrahtu, president of the Association of African Students. “They all really believe in the cause behind our event.”

Along with the speech and fashion show, dinner will be provided for event goers, as well as viewing of a side-show art competition between student groups.

Attendees will also be able to get information from health professionals about where to go for testing and what steps to take after, including where to get counseling.

The Cascade AIDS Project will be offering free testing, along with free counseling sessions the day of the event.

“It’s really important to be tested and know your status,” said Peter Parisot, interim deputy executive director and director of development & communications at the Cascade AIDS project. “We want people to not only know their status, but to be empowered with the knowledge whether the result is positive or negative and be comfortable talking about it without stigma.”

“We hope that the event will make people more aware of the presence of AIDS and HIV and its effect not just on African people but on everyone, no matter where they come from,” Mebrahtu said.

For more information on World AIDS Day, visit