Making a difference —starting at UAB
Posted on Dec 04, 2012 in News
Much due recognition and reward – for time, energy, and passion applied to educating the general public- has been given to Sadhvi Batra. After writing two 1,000 word essays on the subject of comprehensive sex education, Sadhvi, a junior at UAB was chosen to be one of the six recipients for a leadership scholarship awarded by the National AIDS Memorial Growth program.
Batra was shocked last year when she attended an AED sex education presentation. Growing up in a rural Mississippi town, she, like many other Americans, was not exposed to public health and sex education.
“I didn’t understand what it meant to [have an STD]. I just knew those were bad things, and you get them by having sex,” said Batra.
Moved by the story of a woman living with AIDS, Batra was driven to become involved in Public Awareness. She dedicated the following summer to researching ways to get involved.
In the winter of 2011, she started a program to raise awareness in the community.
Founder of UAB’s awareness group, Advocates Today Doctors Tomorrow, Batra became aware of the stigmatism that sexual activity has been marked with when her awareness group passed out protection on campus. She noticed that students were ashamed to stop at her table.
Batra found a way to work around the stigmatism by making “goodie bags” that included informative brochures, condoms and pamphlets on the three step vaccination process for HPV.
“It was an innovated method to get public health information out there without people feeling embarrassed.”
The negative outlook on those living with STD’s was the subject of Batra’s winning essay for The National AIDS Memorial Growth program.
She discussed the issues of the lingering stigma of sexual activity and commented “The reason the stigma exist is because of ignorance.” It has been her mission to eliminate that ignorance.
“Instead of discriminating against people we should educate society; because many of these [public health] issues are preventable. Teen pregnancy is preventable. STDs are preventable. But a lot of people don’t know how to protect themselves,” said Batra.
The Message that Batra would like to convey to the world is what she calls the three R’s: right, respect, responsibility. Everyone has the right to their body, and society should respect that right while educating young people to make responsible decisions.
After a year of dedication to this cause, Batra has been awarded a $2,500 scholarship for her service to the community. She plans to continue educating the community in hopes of making an impact.