If Charlie Sheen’s recent announcement has done any good, it has at the very least once again turned the spotlight on HIV and AIDS.
Each year, December 1st World AIDS Day, to remind the world of the incredible success in fighting this disease as well as the challenges that remain. Despite amazing advances, there is still no cure for HIV/AIDS.
Why do we need to celebrate World AIDS Day? Because the epidemic isn’t over. Because every year thousands of people in the United States become infected with the virus, and nearly a fifth of them remain undiagnosed.
We shouldn’t be talking about HIV/AIDS as if it’s a thing of the past, because it is very much here and present. What we need to be talking about is an endgame, a way out – a way to stamp this disease out. We need to be open and honest. We need to educate our children about sex and teach them how to be safe. And when all else fails, we need to embrace our friends, family, and loved ones who have fallen victim to this disease. We need love and support, not stigma and rejection.
This World AIDS Day, I urge you to go out, get tested, and know your status. Secondly, I encourage you to read about PrEP and talk to you doctor to see if perhaps PrEP is right for you.
For all those affected by AIDS, for their friends and family. For those who don’t know they are HIV+. For better public health campaigns, for better education. For more accessible testing and counseling. For an end to this epidemic, for a cure. For hope.