ICRED hosts first RED Week raising HIV/AIDS awareness as UI student organization

ICRED is no stranger to the community, but this year it became an official UI student organization. ICRED continues their RED Week tradition this week, raising awareness and fighting the stigma of HIV and AIDS.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Lily

The AIDS memorial quilt is seen in the Old Capitol Museum on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Kinsey Phipps, News Reporter

Raising awareness, erasing stigma, and defeating HIV/AIDS, Iowa City RED puts its mission to practice during RED Week. 

Nov. 26 to Dec. 1 is RED Week, hosted by the group in its first year as an official UI student organization.

According to hiv.org, there are more than 1.1 million U.S. citizens living with HIV/AIDS. ICRED is dedicated to fighting the stigmas associated with the disease.

“An awareness of HIV/AIDS is a priority, not just for young people but for everyone,” faculty adviser Professor Jon Winet said. 

RED Week has been involved with the Iowa City community since 2008. This fall, ICRED became an official student organization in hopes of reaching more students to have a greater effect on the UI community, group President Chelsea Higgins said. 

“With HIV and AIDS being so stigmatized, a lot of people just don’t talk about it,” she said. “They don’t see a reason to be tested, but everyone should be tested no matter history or relationships.”

Today will be a game night and clothing drive at the LGBTQ Resource Center from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday will be the “RED Fashion Show” in the atrium of the Visual Arts Building, featuring models of different genders, shapes, and sizes. ICRED wants to highlight diversity in this event, Higgins said. 

There will be a movie screening of Dallas Buyers Club in collaboration with the UI Campus Activities Board on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in 101 Becker. 

On Thursday, there will be an HIV education panel called “Stopping the Stigma” in Shambaugh Auditorium from 7-8 p.m. The panel will feature Hillel Haim, a UI assistant professor of microbiology, Kathryn Edel, Johnson County public-health educator, and Marie Kruger, UI associate professor of English.

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Friday will feature the annual “Reading of Names” from 6:45 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. The community may sign up to read (in five-minute increments on the Old Capitol steps) the 100,000 people memorialized on the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.   

The AIDS Memorial Quilt has thousands of quilt blocks, each commemorating a person or family killed by AIDS. Throughout the week, one quilt block will be on display at the Old Capitol.

“Having the quilt commemorating just one person gives it more meaning and makes you realize that this is something that affects families and communities very deeply, and we don’t always talk about it,” ICRED chair of public communication Maegan Tyrrell said. 

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Also on Friday, the IMU Second-Floor Ballroom will feature Mirage from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. The theme is Wizard of Oz, an educational event disguised as a fun time, Higgins said. The event is about protective sex, and activities include a condom casino and a drag show. Showing people that they can speak about safe sex is Mirage’s goal, Higgins said.

World AIDS Day will be Saturday, with a gallery screening from noon-4 p.m. called Day With(out) Art: ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS at Public Space One. The event will highlight AIDS activism and advocacy through artwork. Another quilt block will be displayed there.

“We hope to work toward destigmatizing of the disease and realizing that diseases and illnesses don’t discriminate. It could really be anyone,” Tyrrell said. “We also hope that college students will get involved with this organization and keep carrying it on.”