World AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1 every year to unite people in the fight against HIV. It is a day where we show support to the people suffering from the disease and remember those who lost the fight against it.
The primary focus of World AIDS Day is on raising awareness regarding HIV globally. It also educates people about the virus, modes transmission, the symptoms, and treatments. The celebration acts as a reminder for everyone, whether suffering from the disease or not, to fight the stigmas associated with HIV.
In this article, we will be focusing on how you, as an individual can contribute towards raising awareness about the disease.
HIV/AIDS Is an Ongoing Problem
Even though the number of people who have HIV has drastically gone down since its first instance in the 80s, we are still not over with it. Due to the advancement in technology and medicine, we certainly have made it possible for people suffering from the disease to live a little longer and lead healthy lives.
Despite this, the disease is still spreading, and the antiretroviral treatments are not available for everyone. Even today, HIV/AIDS continues to dominate the public health issue sector and has claimed over 35 million lives.
The Need to Remove Stigma
Regardless of the awareness surrounding HIV/AIDS, there are still several misconceptions and stigmas that keep the disease spreading. Hence, before you educate people about HIV, you first need to understand it yourself.
Mainly, you need to understand that it does not impact a single community over others. We are all vulnerable to HIV and stand chance to contract it. But the impact of the HIV-related stigma on individuals suffering from it is huge.
According to the research conducted by the International Centre for Research on Women observed that the women suffering from the disease face consequences like employment discrimination, loss of income and livelihood, and feel worthless.
Also, as observed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the fear of stigma is the primary reason why most people are reluctant to get themselves tested, disclose their HIV status, and seek treatments.
Be Aware of Your Status
People need to understand that a positive HIV test will not affect their lifestyle. Like we mentioned earlier, you will still lead a long and healthy life. Various health organizations provide access to clinically sound and cost-effective treatments to people in need. So, seek help whenever required.
How Can You Show Support This World AIDS Day?
The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is ‘Community make the difference’. Understandably, communities contribute to the awareness of the disease in multiple ways. These communities include peer educators, people living in HIV affected areas, people injecting drugs, sex workers, women, men, community health workers, civil organizations, and the upcoming generation.
If you want to show your support this World AIDS Day, educate yourself first, spread awareness, and reach out to people in your community for help. Merely encourage people to seek full body medical checkups at least once a year. Whether they are diagnosed with HIV or not, getting an update on the existing health conditions surely helps.
Also, encourage people to take a health policy as it helps them to tackle medical expenses and treatment costs financially. However, make sure that they carefully go through the pre-existing diseases in health insurance that are excluded from the policy.
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