Overcoming inequalities and ending stigmas together
For the last 34 years, each December 1, people worldwide unite to honor those who lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses, celebrate those thriving with HIV and raise awareness of HIV prevention and treatment options.
This World AIDS Day, UNAIDS urges each of us to address the inequalities that are holding back progress in ending AIDS.
How does HIV/AIDS disproportionately affect people?
Inequalities are the driving force behind the AIDS epidemic.
Although anyone can be exposed to HIV, from its beginning HIV has disproportionately affected some communities – particularly racial and ethnic minorities, gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.
Stigma keeps many people from getting tested for HIV because of discrimination associated with a positive status. Sometimes the misconceptions associated with HIV can cause people living HIV-positive lives to internalize the stigma they experience, preventing them from seeking treatment.
Can we overcome this?
By speaking up about misconceptions and educating people about HIV we can help overcome this ongoing challenge. Helping others understand HIV stigmas can make a difference for those at risk for HIV and living with HIV.
Regardless of your status, by taking control of your health you can encourage others to know their HIV status and get connected to care to help overcome existing barriers.
We know an HIV diagnosis can be overwhelming to the person receiving it and to family and friends, but with a community like Take Control HIV behind you, together, we can end the stigmas and improve the quality of life for all.
How can I get involved?
One of the easiest ways to get involved this World AIDS Day is by wearing red attire or a red ribbon – the universal symbol for HIV awareness and support. Use red clothing or a ribbon to spread awareness about HIV and AIDS.
Share images of you wearing red, tag the Take Control HIV community and use relevant hashtags like #TakeControlHIV and #WorldAIDSDay.
Speaking up about your journey is also helpful to empower and inspire others to do the same and break through the stigma.
Also, in celebration of World AIDS Day, the Take Control HIV community put together a video to highlight the resources available for HIV prevention, testing and treatment in the community.
The video below explains why the Take Control HIV community – “Rocks the Ribbon,” answering the question, “why do you ‘Rock the Ribbon’?”
Rock the Ribbon is the World AIDS Day campaign by National AIDS Trust. To read more about the Rock the Ribbon campaign, click here.
Embrace your status
With 1.2 million people in the United States living with HIV, it’s important to remember you are not alone.
Educating yourself and others on HIV topics such as testing, treatment and knowing what your HIV status means is key to overcoming HIV stigmas and barriers to care.
We know HIV is no longer a death sentence. You can thrive with HIV by starting antiretroviral therapy (ART), an HIV treatment to help you gain an undetectable status.
With an undetectable status and continued treatment, you cannot spread HIV to others.
There’s no better time to start than now – find a provider near you.
Ready to live your truth?
Your voice can empower others to get tested, seek treatment and live a positive HIV life.
Share your story and learn more about HIV to educate others on prevention, testing and treatment options.