SPECIALIZING IN FUTURES
The montly newsltter ofThe Univrsity ofthe Virsgin Iland
October 30, 2009 vol xv, number 10
AIDS Activist Shares Her Story with Students
Through entertaining and honest discussion AIDS
activist Rae Lewis-Thornton shared her personal
story about living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
She told her story to UVI and high school students from
across St. Thomas.
Lewis-Thornton was the featured speaker during a
day-long conference on HIV/AIDS entitled "Promoting
Prevention in Paradise: Youth Taking Control," held on
UVI's St. Thomas campus Oct. 2.
Lewis-Thornton, who is based in Chicago, was one of
the first African American women to share her story with
a major publication when she appeared on the cover of
Essence magazine in 1994.
"You don't see AIDS when you look at me but it's
real," Lewis-Thornton repeated throughout her presen-
tation. "I look good. I'm fancy and stuff, but AIDS is the
hardest thing I've had to
Paradise deal with," she said. "My
Chanel handbag over here
Jam 2009 does not reduce my pill
Paradise Jam opens Nov. load. I still have to take 15
20, at UVI's Sports and pills a day."
Fitness Center on St. Lewis-Thornton, a
Thomas, with 16 NCAA college-educated, magna
Division I basketball teams cum laude graduate, said
eight men's and eight she had not used drugs, al-
women's participating. cohol or cigarettes in her
The men's championship whole life. She said she
; .fi rr . 23 the orm n's never had sex on the first
J V/11 L I/ V .r UI VVw VIlV^ J
is on Nov. 28. During the
tourney, UVI's Bucs men's
team will host LAI rivals
Metropolitan in a game
on Nov. 21.
For details visit
night and never had a one-
night-stand. Yet she con-
While she never knew
for sure who infected her,
Lewis-Thornton said she
has to live with the con-
and to use them correctly.
The AIDS activist stressed that she cannot save any-
one's life; it's up to each person to protect themselves.
"You have got to take this information and use it," she
said. The conference was sponsored by UVI's St. Thom-
as campus Office of the Associate Campus Executive Ad-
ministrator for Student Affairs, with support from the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Adminis-
tration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, through
the Minority Education Institution Initiative.
World Food Day
Dr. Jeff Keularts, left, and
Olasee Davis from UVI's
Service distribute veg-
etable seedlings to World
Food Day participants.
Three thousand seedlings
were distributed on Sun-
day, Oct. 18, on the St.
sequences of having un-
protected sex. "I had a choice," she said. She encouraged
members of the audience to think of the consequences of
their behavior before each sexual act.
Lewis-Thornton detailed how she has managed liv-
ing with the disease for 26 years, including the toll it has
taken on her body. She also explained the ways HIV can
be transmitted and encouraged everyone to use condoms
,. , , , ,I .. .. .. 1 1
,, 1_- i7, I Ni -. .. . w ,, , / ,,,
CERC Holds 2nd Annual Health Disparities Conference
H health care professionals working with the Caribbean
Exploratory NCMHD Research Center for Excel-
lence (CERC) held a two-day conference at the St. John
Westin Resort Oct. 15-16.
"Bridging Science, Practice and Culture to Improve
Health in the U.S. Virgin Islands" was the theme of the
2nd Annual Health Disparities Institute. Oganizers said
they want to take what experts know about health dispari-
ties among persons of color and convert those facts into
"A very sparse literature suggests that residents of the
U.S. Virgin Islands are burdened with the same health
disparities identified in health disparity populations on
the U.S. mainland," the program booklet said. Virgin Is-
landers largely face the same challenges; finding health
care, paying for health care, knowing when they need it
and finding health care that speaks to them no matter
what language they're speaking.
Dr. Gloria Callwood, Principal Investigator for
CERC and former Chair of the UVI Nursing Education
Division, urged everyone to play a role in bridging the
health care gap in the territory.
UVI President Dr. David Hall spoke at the confer-
ence. "The importance of this topic and the focus of this
institute cannot be overstated ... I believe disparities in
health and in educational achievement are the new civil
Construction progresses toward a March 2010 completion date.
f .. 11
rights agenda for this generation of scholars and activ-
ists," he said.
Over the course of two days the group was addressed
by three distinguished leaders. U.S. Ambassador Marga-
ret Heckler was once the U.S. Secretary of Health and
Human Services. She directed the first national study on
health disparities. UVI alumna Dr. Safiya George Dalmi-
da addressed the topic of HIV disease and how mental
and social influences affect the immune system. Dr. Fati-
mah L.C. Jackson shared her knowledge of metabolic bi-
ology and the link between cultural practices and health.
Dr. Callwood said she hoped the workshops and
speakers presented at the Health Disparities Institute
would encourage those who took part to influence na-
tional policies on health and help promote a meaningful
debate about health care reform.
P 4 &4: UVI is a production of the UVI Public Rela-
tions Office. Contact us by telephone at (340) 693-1056 or
by fax at (340) 693-1055.
AdvWe : UVI
2 John Brewer's Bay
St. Thomas, VI 00802
IIGET CO NNETE ITO UVI n av an copIshments at .. wwwiuvi~ed I