Pacific Daily News (Guam) (10.22.2013)
The Pasadena Star-News reported that approximately 400 students in the Pasadena, Ca., area participated in Planned Parenthood’s annual HIV/AIDS Action Summit this week. The awareness event, in its seventh year, took place at the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, Ca. Health academy students from Pasadena, Duarte, and Montebello participated in the six-second video “Know your status get tested” that the center posted on the mobile video sharing app Vine.
“This is a movement that is 30 years old, but is still as important today as it was 30 years ago because it’s a disease that’s completely preventable and people don’t focus on that piece because now they see people living longer and so they don’t understand the consequences are just as dire,” said former State Assemblymember Anthony J. Portantino, (D- La Cañada Flintridge), who has hosted the event every year. “Although the advancements and drug treatments have gotten better, we still need to be on our A game with this.”
Portantino continues to see the importance of educating America’s youth about the AIDS epidemic, even though the disease has garnered fewer headlines in recent years. As a child, Portantino lost a cousin to the disease and feels personally connected to creating awareness about prevention, especially among youth. “I hope they go home and talk to their peers and say I learned something about HIV. I learned how this can be prevented,” said Portantino.
Dr. Alexandra Levine, chief medical officer at the City of Hope, showed the students graphic photos illustrating some of the infections that can be fatal to people with HIV/AIDS as she explained the cause, prevention, and treatments for the disease. “I want to show you these pictures because they are the truth. This is what AIDS is,” she said. “I want you to see what AIDS is because I need you to know that you don’t want it.” She also urged students to consider the consequences of having sex with a partner who did not know their HIV status.