So, youâ€™ve probably heard of HIV/AIDS before. Maybe youâ€™ve seen red ribbons popping up every now and then the last few days. 1st December is World AIDS Day, the annual event that aims to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS across the globe.
If youâ€™ve never discussed HIV/AIDS with anyone before, or youâ€™re just not sure about what it is/what it does, you can visit our HIV topic page and check out the factsheet and videos. Weâ€™ll wait here for you!
Okay, you’re back? Great! So, now you know today is World AIDS Day, and you know what HIV/AIDS is and what it does. You know all sorts of things like how HIV/AIDS is transmitted, how you can protect yourself and the people you love, and even things like how almost HALF of all new HIV infections are in people under 25yrs of age. Itâ€™s kind of scary, but youâ€™re informed. However, thereâ€™s one thing you donâ€™t know. I can hear you asking now:
What can I do about it?
Iâ€™m very glad you asked. HIV/AIDS is a problem that affects all of us globally, so we all need to play our part in helping out. The best thing you can do â€“ aside from keeping yourself protected! â€“ is to help raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, which is exactly what World AIDS day is about. Thereâ€™s a bunch of stuff you can do!
Wear Red, or a red ribbon
Imagine this. You want to start talking to people about HIV/AIDS but you donâ€™t know how â€“ youâ€™re not great at starting conversation, you donâ€™t know where to start, you donâ€™t feel like you can just jump into â€˜So what do you know about HIV/AIDS?â€™. What about if you had a conversation starter to help out? Imagine walking down the street, your head held high, your clothes a bright and striking red â€“ or wearing your usual clothes but with a shiny red ribbon somewhere on your body. Someone comes up to you and asks what itâ€™s about â€“ you can proudly tell them what day it is and launch into a conversation like you wanted. Yay!
Test your understanding
Not sure if do or don’t know your info – test it out at YEAH’s Share my Secret interactive questionnaire to see how you fair. If you weren’t as hot on some areas as you thought you were, just check out our HIV info page to get fully informed.
Tell people where to find information
Prevention is better than a cure, and since we donâ€™t have a cure, prevention is all weâ€™ve got anyway. You can help prevent the spread by protecting yourself and your partner, but also by making sure everyone else knows how to protect themselves! They canâ€™t keep themselves safe if they donâ€™t know how, so help them out and show them where they can learn. Our HIV topic page is a great place to start.
Declare youâ€™re Red Aware
The red ribbon is the international symbol for AIDS awareness! Our friends at YEAH (Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS) are running a campaign for HIV/AIDS awareness. If youâ€™ve looked at our topic page (or gained good info elsewhere) about HIV/AIDS, know a bit about it and want to help out, you can declare youâ€™re Red Aware! by completing a short declaration form at YEAH.
Become an Agent of YEAH
If youâ€™re looking for something slightly more long-term, youâ€™re aged 17-29 and you want to help raise awareness among your peers, you could become an Agent of YEAH. Aside from having a spiffy name, becoming an agent means you get free training to
become a peer educator â€“ that means youâ€™ll be trained to teach others about HIV/AIDS and prevention. You can express your interest in becoming an Agent here!Â You can also apply to host your own Red Aware event with some friends and get a helpful resource kit from YEAH themselves. Download a poster about Agents of YEAH here.
Isnâ€™t it nice to know you can do something to help without getting that medicine degree and discovering a cure? Even wearing that tiny little red ribbon, or mentioning to someone that itâ€™s World AIDS Day, can make a huge difference to someone. Remember, HIV/AIDS is a global problem, and we can all do our part â€“ even if itâ€™s just a red ribbon â€“ to help out.
Today’s blog was written by Zoe. A big thank you for your insight into this very important topic Zoe – top job !!
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