3 ways to support the fight against HIV/AIDS
Did you know that an estimated 36 million people are living with HIV, including over 1.2 million in the U.S.? The disease has claimed over 35 million lives since the beginning of the pandemic. On the positive side, many scientific advances have been made that are allowing people to live longer, more comfortable lives with HIV, but despite these advances, there is still no cure.
While the global community has made great strides in supporting HIV patients, there is always more that can be done. Each year, December 1 marks World AIDS Day. The purpose of the day is for people to:
- Join in the fight against HIV
- Show support for people living with HIV
- Remember those who have died of HIV/AIDS
How can you show your support and learn more about this illness? The Federal government hosts Aids.gov, a website that contains a wealth of information about HIV/AIDS. This website suggests three ways that you can get involved in the fight against HIV.
1. Learn the facts.
Educate yourself about how HIV is transmitted and how you can protect yourself. The Aids.gov website discusses how to lower your risk, who is at risk, how to get tested, and what to do if you are diagnosed. Below are the six main ways to lower your risk:
- Choosing less risky sexual behavior
- Using condoms consistently and correctly
- Reducing your number of sexual partners
- Using HIV medication to reduce your risk, if you are in a high-risk category
- Getting tested and treated for other STDs
- If your partner has HIV, encourage him or her to get treatment and stay on it
2. Get tested.
Getting an HIV test is the only way you can know for sure if you have the virus. Find a testing center in your area, talk to your doctor, or purchase an at-home testing kit. If you learn that you are HIV+, you can get started on treatment and take measures to avoid spreading the virus to others.
3. Get involved.
The Aids.gov website provides posters, images, and social media posts that you can share on World AIDS Day (or any day) to promote awareness. You could also volunteer for an agency that serves people living with HIV or donate money to HIV organizations. If you want to get others involved in the cause, the World AIDS Day website suggests several creative ways to raise money for AIDS organizations.
Despite the many advances that have been made in the fight against AIDS, World AIDS Day is still an important day to remind the public and the government that the fight is not over. We need to continue raising money, raising awareness, and improving education. We hope you join others worldwide on December 1 to contribute to the fight!
The American College for Medical Careers, located in Orlando, Florida, prepares students for careers in the field of healthcare. ACMC supports our students in understanding the complex issues surrounding HIV/AIDS and developing compassion and understanding toward people living with HIV.