Why you should attend a World AIDS Day event this year
There are many ways to commemorate World AIDS Day on 1st December, which is a day dedicated to fighting the virus and creating awareness around it. Here’s why you should attend a World AIDS Day event this year.
HIV/AIDS is still a very big problem
The number of HIV/AIDS cases have gone down dramatically since it first came about. Although we’ve made it possible to live long, healthy lives with antiretroviral treatments, HIV is still spreading, because of lack of treatment adherence and stigma.
To remove stigma
We need to rethink how we view HIV/AIDS, to remove the misconceptions and stigma that prevent us from achieving an HIV free society. It’s important to know the facts about HIV, including how it’s contracted and transmitted. Most World AIDS events bring awareness to these topics. We need to understand that AIDS doesn’t affect one community over another- we’re all vulnerable to contracting HIV/AIDS.
To know your status
As important as it is to educate ourselves, our friends and family on HIV/AIDS, it’s equally important to know your own status. You can easily get tested at any World AIDS day event or get a self-screening kit that you can take home. Remember that HIV self-screening doesn’t provide a final diagnosis and would need to be confirmed with another blood-based test. This can be done with your healthcare provider.
It’s important to remember that a positive HIV test isn’t a death sentence. You can still live a healthy, long happy life, provided you receive anti-retroviral treatment. We all have the right to access treatment as well as counselling, and to get the best care possible. For more information and support, call the AIDS helpline on 0800 012 322.
How can you show support?
Show your support this World AIDS Day by wearing your red ribbon and educating yourself on the virus. If you’re looking to go beyond that, visit sanac.org.za (South African National AIDS Council), where you can view statistics, news, and information on how the government, private sector and civil society are collectively making a difference. Any way that you can spread knowledge about the virus is a good way to show your support.
World AIDS Day isn’t just about raising awareness of global HIV/AIDS statistics. It’s about teaching the community the truth about the virus, how it’s spread, its symptoms, and treatments. World AIDS Day is also a solid reminder that we still need to fight the stigma attached to an HIV/AIDS diagnosis. Always remember, HIV is NOT a death sentence. Will you be attending a World AIDS Day event? Let me know in the comments!
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