Aside from being the start of the month and being 24 days before Christmas, December 1 is known as World AIDS Day. It is the time of the year where we take the time to reflect, celebrate the remarkable scientific achievements to fight against the disease, and recommit to join the campaign to end HIV/AIDS. As we celebrate this year’s World AIDS Day, below are some of the reasons why we should talk about HIV/AIDS more often than its popular myths to initiate aid to the community.
Health is a human right.
“Health is a human right. Health must be a top investment priority to achieve universal health coverage. On this World AIDS Day let us recognize that to overcome COVID-19 and end AIDS, the world must stand in solidarity and share responsibility,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres during this year’s General Assembly.
People are suffering — HIV/AIDS continues to be a leading cause of death globally. It is high time we stop considering it as a taboo subject and start talking about it for real to increase awareness about the disease.
Stop the HIV/AIDS stigma.
“HIV Disease is the easy bit. It’s how other people relate to people being positive, that’s the difficult bit.” People with AIDS face the stigma because the disease touches social taboos such as sexuality, death, gender roles, mental health, and its transmission.
Let us clear and reiterate things out: HIV is not spread by hugging, shaking hands, nor sharing dishes or drinking glasses contrary to the prevalent HIV myths. The disease can be mainly transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse or in rare cases, blood transfusion.
If we get to talk more often to people about these things, the more they get educated about what the disease really is, and the more actions we can do to stop the stigma.
Join the solidarity.
Ever since 1988, this annual commemoration reminds us that we can achieve together the challenges brought about by the disease. Concentrating on the impact of sound education, human-centered HIV prevention and treatment services, the fight against stigma and prejudice, and empowering individuals and communities are very crucial. Every one of us has a role to play in addressing the challenges of HIV/AIDS especially in these times of adversity.
Being HIV-positive can be the most difficult experience one has to go through in life. One can feel scared, sad, or even angry — and this is okay. It is a completely natural part of coping with something that can be life-changing. But remember that HIV does not stop someone from living a long, happy, and fulfilling life.
We can be of help. The aid we can extend on World AIDS Day and any other ordinary day can intensify a greater call for action against HIV/AIDS.
Edited by Lois Mauri Anne L. Liwanag