December 1st is World AIDS Day. It’s the one day every year that HIV advocates around the world can unite for HIV awareness and support individuals living with HIV. It is also a day where we remember the wonderful people we have lost to AIDS and why we continue to fight for a cure.
There are so many reasons why World AIDS Day is important. Here are some reasons why you should wear a red ribbon today.
It’s a Worldwide Epidemic
HIV in the United States only represents a small fraction of cases worldwide. Individuals in Africa, Asia, and South America are most affected by HIV transmission and do not have the same medical resources. World AIDS Day is an opportunity to show solidarity with these members of our international community, as we are all fighting the same battle: the battle to end AIDS.
HIV Stigma Persists
HIV continues to carry a stigma in our society, even though it shouldn’t. People are afraid of getting tested. People are hesitant to disclose their status. World AIDS Day is a day to face this fear and ignorance head on. Having HIV may be a part of your life, but it does not determine your worth.
Knowledge is Power
HIV prevention starts with knowledge of how the virus is transmitted and what you can do to protect your health. Take the time on World AIDS Day to learn how to lower your HIV risk: use latex condoms during sex (even oral sex), never share needles, and get tested often.
Many Lost Loved Ones
In the year 2000, 774,467 persons with AIDS had been reported to the CDC since the beginning of the epidemic. 448,060 of these persons died. These people are so much more than a number — they were our brothers, sisters, partners, lovers, and friends. On World AIDS Day, we can honor their memory with love and hope for a cure.
The only way we can make an impact on public health is by working together. When there are more people advocating for HIV awareness, whether they are HIV-positive or HIV-negative, HIV transmission can be prevented.
HIV is Highly Treatable
When detected early, HIV can be managed with medical treatment and complementary therapies. With treatment adherence, you may reach an undetectable viral load, which significantly lowers the risk of passing the virus to others. On World AIDS Day, take a FREE rapid HIV test and know your status.
This year on World AIDS Day, join UNM Truman Health Services, N’MPOWER, and United Court of the Sandias at a candlelight vigil in Old Town Plaza. The Albuquerque Gay Men’s Choir will be singing as we remember those affected by HIV and AIDS.
The candlelight vigil starts at 7PM. We hope to see you there. You can contact us with any questions!