Saturday, November 30, 2013

World AIDS Day Tomorrow, Dec 1st, 2013

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day. Though I'm encouraging everyone to get out and get tested, I especially want to motivate those who have never been tested to take the opportunity to find out their status. Getting tested isn't just about finding out if you're HIV+. It's about taking a moment to acknowledge the real risks that are involved with your sexual behavior and reminding yourself to do what you can to minimize your risk.

I certainly have not lived a celibate life, but I have lived a careful one, and I take safe sex very seriously. It isn't enough to rely on the word of your previous partners. It's lovely that they say they've been tested and that they're negative, but statistically speaking, if I reflect on my past sexual experiences, I am 100% sure that a lot of those guys were lying, which is why I am so glad that I did what I could to make those experiences as safe as possible.

Also, please use this day as an opportunity to reflect on those who are currently living with HIV and AIDS. There is such a cruel stigma against people who are living with these, and it is our job to work to dismantle it. Talk about this day with whoever you can. Read up on the most current data about HIV transmission, and as you're talking to people you know (friends, relatives, etc), make sure to instill in them the most up-to-date information and dispels some of the cruel myths that serve no purpose other than to marginalize those living with the disease. Not only are you likely to help those who don't know this information, you may very well come across someone with HIV and AIDS who will be relieved to know that there are those out there who are open and willing to talk about this serious issue. For those of you who know someone living with HIV or AIDS, take an opportunity to reach out to them and let them know that you care. In a world that is so prejudice and judgmental, it's always nice to be reminded that you have a friend and an ally.

Do whatever you can to make this day special and to transform the dialogue that the world is having about this epidemic. Tweet about it. FB about it. Pin about it. Blog about it. There are so many people out there who don't want to talk about this. Some people who are most affected by this issue would love to deny it and pretend that it isn't an issue, but it is, and avoiding it isn't going to make it go away. We have to face this problem and talk about it in ways that serve to tear down the myths and lies that have been fixed in people's minds. We don't have to change the way the world is talking about it. We can't do that. But we can talk to those around us and make a difference within our sphere of influence, and that's all that I'm asking you do on December 1st.