There are approximately 33.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.
If that number scares you… it should. It should scare you into ensuring that you get an HIV test regularly if you are at risk, and that you and your partner get tested before becoming sexually active. If you are unsure whether or not you are at risk for HIV/AIDS, information on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website can help. And you can visit HIVTest.org to find a place nearby that can test you. Remember, getting tested for HIV/AIDS is scary and nerve wrecking, but the earlier the disease is caught the sooner treatment can begin.
In addition to getting tested, you can get active for World AIDS Day. Learn about the harms of abstinence-only education, and how it is a strong cause of high STD and teen pregnancy rates. Also, check out the “Do Something” section on the World AIDS Day website to read about the many things you can do to spread awareness.
But World AIDS Day isn’t just about getting tested and being an activist… it is also about supporting our loved ones who may be living with HIV/AIDS. It is important to remember that it is unhelpful and incorrect to dismiss someone living with the disease as careless or ignorant because they contracted it. People get HIV/AIDS for a wide array of complex reasons… and yes, some do contract the disease because of a mistake like not wearing a condom, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still deserve our support and love.
What are you doing in honor of World AIDS Day?