by Rachel Lipsky
Today we had breakfast and left the hotel. After a few hours we made it to Las Vegas and the massive Orleans Hotel. We had a quick bathroom break and then went to get lunch at Greens and Protein. The food wasn’t too good. We came back to the hotel and had a couple minutes to explore before we met with Scott Fried. Immediately he asked each of us our names and where we were from to connect with us. I liked that because it made me feel like he really cared and wanted to get to know me. He talked to us about his experience living with HIV and how his unhappiness with himself led to condom-less sex. He talked about wanting to find people who like and understand you for exactly who you are. It was very moving to hear him talk about his fear after receiving his HIV diagnosis and the grief of friends who passed away from AIDS. After talking for a while we met up with him in smaller groups where we could have little discussions with him. This was a great way to get to know him better. I wish we’d had more time. Then we had a sex-ed lesson with him where he educated us on how HIV-AIDS and other STIs and STDs spread and how to seek protection and treatment. He also cleared up the difference between HIV and AIDS. It was very helpful as quite a few of us did not have a comprehensive sex education. Personally, I learned a lot. We also discussed consent and how to get out of an uncomfortable sexual situation. Then he showed us how to get out a condom and we did a fun relay race where teams competed to see if all of them could put a condom on a cucumber quickly. We had to do all the important steps such as: checking the expiration date, looking for holes in the packaging, and making sure it is not inside out.
After that we went to the hotel food court. Some of my friends and I went to Friday’s. It was cool to look at all the attractions including the bowling alley, movie theater, pools, and casino games (even if we couldn’t play them). When we were finished with that we walked around the Las Vegas strip. We visited the stores in the Venetian, saw flames and red light from a show volcano near the Mirage Hotel, and watched the Bellagio fountains dance to Billie Jean by Micheal Jackson. We were all pretty tired and headed back to the hotel to get some sleep before our next day in Las Vegas.