Thursday afternoon, delegates watched Joe Conrad, a speaker with HIV and AIDS, discuss the issues and concerns with STDs and sexual activity. Below is an article by Jeff Story of Manila Bay.
“The Disadvantages of AIDS and HIV”
With the amount of testosterone flowing through Schramm Hall and Boys State, a speaker discussing STD’s is highly appropriate. As everyone heard, the speaker, Jon Conrad, shared his personal struggle of living with HIV and, later, AIDS. Nothing comes easily for him now, and it’s his goal to educate people about the dangers so they don’t serve the same fate. Conrad has lived with AIDS alone for 19 years of his life.
Although topics mostly centered around HIV and AIDS, other common STD’s in Nebraska were discussed. The issues are not light-hearted, and the facts were thrown out in front of the boys. Some are over-educated on the topic in their schools, so this presentation was just another confirmation of the consequences of pre-marital sex. For others, Conrad’s speech raised much awareness. Sex is a usual conversation piece among teenage males, so showing the negative side was a wise choice.
The wake-up call was naturally how hard it was to tell everyone Conrad loved that he was infected by the incurable disease. How would it feel to tell your girlfriend, family, and other friends that you were infected by HIV? This question and many other thoughts ran through many of the boys’ minds. Hopefully more education like this will yield lower rates of HIV and other STD’s in the future.