By: Ashley Vance
Yesterday (Apr. 20th), The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) made the second stop of their Know Your Status Tour at Clark Atlanta University in a much needed attempt to educate today’s youth on the detriments of STD’s. Engaging in a panel discussion hosted by Karen Civil, a group of influencers inclusive of Amber Rose, Nina Parker, Don Benjamin, Jacques and more bounced around the topic of sexual plagues and the impact they have on young adults.
The ultimate goal of the event? To get student’s amped up about STD testing, of course. Each year, over 10 million young adults contract an STD in the United States with most common cases stemming from Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. On top of that stunner, Atlanta’s HIV rate can easily be compared to that of a third world country, with the CDC estimating that 1 in 51 Georgians will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. Aiming to prove that knowledge is power through the open dialogue, the pop-culture patrons sparked an eye-opening conversation that was probably much easier to key into than when in the presence of a physician or parental figure.
But of course, you can’t jump straight into the waters of a topic as deep as sexually transmitted diseases without dipping your toe in first. To break the ice, Ari Lennox and YFC Lucci graced the stage to shake the CAU students out of their comfort zones. As the topic of conversation arose, there was a huge emphasis placed on getting tested for STD’s and far to many uses of the word “condom” for one person to count. But with so many opinions on one stage, a discussion on safe sex quickly turned into a heated conversation on gender roles, bringing Slut Walk founder Amber Rose to close the mild argument by making the point that, “We always tell the boys to bring condoms, but what about the boys?”
When the event came to a close, we were able to continue our sex talk in a one-on-one with media maven Karen Civil.
The Source: So Karen, as an author, woman in media and moderator of today’s panel discussion, what type of changes would you like to see made within today’s topics of conversation.
Karen Civil: First of all, I definitely think AHF is doing an incredible job. Being an ambassador for them and seeing them use young Millennials is great, because companies don’t always show they care. They think “let me just put up a billboard, throw some condoms out there and that’s it,” but AHF knows who the young millennials are and how to find people with a platform and a voice.
The Source: What do you love most about being a part of the Know Your Status Tour?
Karen Civil: That we’re not shying away from the conversation. It’s one that needs to be had. From people in television and music, to modeling and even social media, they’re utilizing everyone with an influence to spread awareness for the cause. We all have fans and we all want to use our platforms for good reason.
The Source: What’s been your biggest lesson learned from this chain of events?
Karen Civil: Basically, it’s the stigma and the labels that young generations are putting on themselves. All this ‘Oh this person’s a hoe, she’s a slut, he does this, she does that’ stuff is draining. We need to give the empowerment back to ourselves.
The Source: Considering everything that’s been said today, what’s one of advice you wish you were given at the beginning of your career:
Something my mom has always said to me is, “In a world that wants you to be everybody but yourself, always appreciate yourself.” For a very long time I was trying to be any and everyone but myself. Trying to keep up, fit-in, do what others are doing, wondering if i need to be in the gym 30 times a day.. No. I’m living for Karen and that’s the best way to live!