Editorial: From the Edge

 by Megan Irwin
 published on Thursday, February 23, 2006

Editor in Chief

In the early 80s a virus was discovered that changed the world. It changed the way we think about sex, social behavior and poverty.

The virus, made a mockery of the immune system -- turning a mechanism designed to protect our bodies into a ticking time bomb.

It killed millions of people. It caused worldwide mass hysteria everywhere from the media to the classroom.

The virus was HIV.

And then, in the mid-90s, we got tired of talking about it. Powerful medications were developed and people were no longer dropping dead within months of contracting the virus. So, of course, the media moved on to more interesting topics.

But the fact is, HIV is still a big deal.

I decided to write this week's cover story (Holding on to Hope, page 8) because I discovered some statistics that turned my stomach. The rate of HIV A 2004 survey conducted by ASU shows that only 38 percent of students have ever had an HIV test and well over half did not use a condom the last time they had sex.

No wonder we're still dying of this disease.

It's not going to go away if we keep pretending it's not there. I don't want to get preachy and I don't have enough space here to give a lecture on education and protection anyway.

All I have room to do here is to implore you: If you have never been tested, even if you're "sure" you aren't infected, head to you're nearest testing site (see the list on page 9) and find out for sure.

It's nothing to be ashamed of. It doesn't mean you've been up to no good and it doesn't make you "dirty." It means you respect yourself. It makes you a grownup.

And what you find out, even if it's not what you expected or hoped, could save your life.

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