FDA simulates the spread of AIDs with paper cups and acidic fluid

Devon Braunstein ('10)/Eastside Community Editor

Wednesday, February 25, the East’s Future Doctors of America Club (FDA) gathered in F084 for one of their last meetings of the 2008-09 school year. 

Liz Kim (’09), current President of FDA, opened the meeting with a short discussion about the upcoming elections for next year’s officer positions, which will be held on April 22. 

The topic of today’s meeting was the spreading epidemic, AIDS.  The club planned an experiment called “A Ten Minute Epidemic,” to further the members’ understanding of the rapidly spreading epidemic.  After signing in, the 27 club attendees listened to a brief history of AIDS.   Then, each student received a paper cup with a number on the bottom filled with an acidic fluid.  The students were to travel around the room and exchange fluids with five other students, each time recording the number of the cup fluid they obtained.  After about fifteen minutes of simulated AIDS infecting, Kim walked around with an indicator base fluid, putting a drop into all of the students’ cups.  The fluids that turned pink were “infected” and the fluids remaining clear were clean.  The club members were able to identify the cup origin of the virus just by recording who shared acid fluid with whom.

Kim said she tries to make the club fun, rather than just having members sit  through lectures on medicine.  Last November, FDA went to the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia and learned about anatomy and human medical anomalies.  The club also recently played medical Jeopardy to test the students’ knowledge on different diseases and medical fields. 

“We tried to change it up a little and it worked,” said Kim. 

The club offers both a social and an educational aspect.

“Each time we learn something new.  [The club] introduces you to different medical fields,” said Catherine Yu (’11).

Through countless bake sales, FDA has over $400 and plans to purchase t-shirts, which will be distributed to dedicated members who have attended over half of the meetings. 

FDA’s next meeting will be March 18, with a plastic surgeon guest speaker, a speaker Kim considers different from speakers FDA has featured in the past.