December is AIDS Awareness Month
There are more than one million Americans living with HIV. However, about one in five of that million is unaware that they are infected.
Each December 1st, World AIDS Day, is dedicated to spreading world-wide awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV. Serving as the kick-off for the entire month of awareness, the need for money and improvement in education is a major driving force.
Throughout December, many organizations host fundraising events such as walks and conferences throughout major cities. During the month, it is common for people to sport red ribbons, which is the global symbol for solidarity with those that have HIV or AIDS.
The HIV crisis has not gone away and with someone getting infected nearly every ten minutes in America, it certainly won’t be going anywhere for a while. As per the AIDS.gov website, “The Department of Health and Human Services encourages organizations to observe the HIV/AIDS Awareness Days.” The site has tips for local organizations to plan awareness events:
Local events are most successful when individual participants are encouraged to take action in response to HIV/AIDS. Here are some actions you can suggest.
Get tested for HIV.
Talk with your health care provider about your risks for HIV.
Learn about the risk factors for acquiring HIV.
Decide not to engage in high risk behaviors.
Practice safer methods to prevent HIV.
Talk about HIV prevention with family, friends, and colleagues.
Tell people about why this Day is important to you.
Talk about the epidemic’s impact on your community with friends and family.
Provide support to people living with HIV/AIDS.
Volunteer at a local organization that serves people living with HIV.
Ask community leaders to increase their response to addressing the epidemic.
Get involved with or host an event for the Awareness Day in your community.
Help fund an event for the Day or support it with in-kind donations.
Visit AIDS.gov for information from the Federal government about HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, treatment, research, andusing new media in response to HIV/AIDS (http://aids.gov/news-and-events/awareness-days/event-planning-guide/).