University of Houston students take to the streets in name of HIV/AIDS awareness

HOUSTON – A group of University of Houston students are taking their work out of the classroom in the name of HIV/AIDS awareness.

According to AIDS Foundation Houston, 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the United States and one in five people don't know they have the virus.

The health promotion and disease prevention class has been gathering data on HIV prevalence in Houston, and under the direction of their professor, decided to hit the streets to spread HIV awareness.

An Dang is majoring in health, and went with classmates to the 3rd Ward on Monday on a unique field trip of sorts.

"Today we are just surveying and interviewing people to see their knowledge and what they know about HIV," Dang said.

The class intends to identify parts of Houston in which HIV rates could be higher based on socioeconomic statistics and to get the word out about the virus.

Their professor, Ken Ripperger-Suhler, felt it was important for the class to get some real-world experience.

"If we can find those people (who have HIV) and get prevention services and medications, then we can cut down on future infections," he said.

The data the class finds will be contributed to AIDS Foundation Houston, and the group will use the information to determine what parts of the Houston area require further outreach and treatment opportunities.