Katherine Thornton (Alpha) went to Los Angeles for spring break this past semester. Instead of spending her days on the beach, Thornton took part in Alternative Spring Break and spend her spring break working at an HIV/AIDS clinic.
“Our mornings usually consisted of learning about the disease and hearing first hand experiences while in the afternoon we would help in various ways,” Thornton said about working at the clinic. They created safe sex kits to be distributed to at risk communities, interacted with the patients, and other various tasks at the clinic.
This was Thornton’s second year helping out at an HIV/AIDS clinic during her spring break. Last year, she worked at a clinic in New York, where the volunteers would also serve food to the clients among their other responsibilities.
“I like working in different clinics across the country because they bring a different insight into that area’s AIDS culture,” Thornton said. “The US has such regional diversity, I was able to learn things that I could bring back to Illinois’s HIV/AIDS community.”
Graduating this may, Thornton is interested in becoming an HIV counselor so she can work with people with HIV and help them lead fulfilling lives despite their diagnosis. She also plans to keep working for HIV prevention and advocacy.
“I just want people to know that though they are living with HIV/AIDS, it doesn’t mean they have to lower their standard of life. I want to empower people so that they feel that it is not an inevitable death sentence,” says Thornton.
To learn more about HIV/AIDS prevention, check out www.aids.gov and learn the basics about HIV/AIDS.