It's a middle school rite of passage: the ceremonial fitting of a banana or cucumber with a condom. (The produce aisle was never the same.) At a Feb. 7 event to celebrate National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness day
, Dillard University students can compete in an event to see if they still have those slightly risque health class skills. They'll be judged on whether they have the proper condom technique to prevent pregnancy and disease transmission.
The contest is part of activities on the historically black university's campus that day to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in Louisiana. This state has the country's highest rate
of new positive diagnoses — a disturbing statistic in a time when the public health conversation around the disease has diminished somewhat since the epidemic's peak in the 1990s. And African-Americans account for 71 percent of newly diagnosed HIV/AIDS cases in the state.
The event is sponsored by the university's Public Health Club and We PrEP Together, the St. Thomas Community Health Center
program which helps people gain affordable access to PrEP treatments, which reduce the risk of HIV transmission. Admission is free for university students. Events are scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.