Sociology club motivated by World AIDS Day

Generally, it’s a mundane scene — the sociology club sat by the elevator on the second floor of Webster Hall with a table, passing out information about HIV for World AIDS Day, but there was something different about the group.


This is the club’s first year participating in the event and four students sat for hours talking to anyone who would stop. Among them was Mark Bouse, senior sociology major.

“We started this semester,” he said. “We wanted to become active in it this year. For one, I joined the sociology club and I am infected with HIV since 2003, and I wanted to do a different approach other than sports or academics.”

He doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to this fact. He has HIV. He is direct, blunt even, but honest.

“I got it through sexual intercourse,” Bouse said, without wavering.

Statistics from the CDC website were passed out and discussed with those who stopped, and condoms were passed out to student passersby’s along with red ribbons. The statistics were shocking.

“My own experience is we make great strides worldwide for the epidemic and to they and keep it under control, but if you read the CDC website, the disease is still rampant if you look at the numbers,” Bouse said. “33 million people are infected with HIV worldwide and one in five people are infected and don’t even know it.

“Not that it’s personal to me, but it’s not going to go away. I think somebody in a small town like this or some people like us need to make a difference in a small town because a disease does not stereotype. It doesn’t pick out gay people, African Americans or whatever, it’s a disease that affects everybody. So, I believe at least somebody will know somebody with HIV or may become infected themselves.”

While some studies show that condoms do not prevent HIV contraction, Bouse is not convinced, and only has one goal—stopping the spread of HIV.

“I don’t think that conclusive proof,” he said. “Statistics say that you are better off wearing a condom than anything else, and that’s what they’ve been saying all along. It may not be 100 percent effective but it’s still better than nothing.

“If all I do today is stop one person from getting it then I’ve done a great job.”