More than three decades ago, the first known cases of HIV/AIDS sparked an epidemic in the United States — ushering in a time defined by how little we knew about it and in which those affected by it faced fear and stigmatization. We have made extraordinary progress in the fight against HIV since that time, but much work remains to be done. On World AIDS Day, we remember those who we have lost to HIV/AIDS, celebrate the triumphs earned through the efforts of scores of advocates and providers, pledge our support for those at risk for or living with HIV, and rededicate our talents and efforts to achieving our goal of an AIDS-free generation. My Administration is committed to ending the spread of HIV and improving the lives of all who live with it.
President Barack Obama, 2015 Proclamation
On Thursday, December 1, 2016 the world pauses to recognize World AIDS Day. Its too important of a day to go by without an appeal. Therefore, we offer a few reflections on the significance of the day and ways you can still become involved. As requested by President Obama in 2015, let us pay tribute to those whom HIV/AIDS took from us too soon, and let us recognize those who continue to fight for a world free from AIDS. Let us also recognize researchers, providers, and advocates, who work each day on behalf of people living with HIV, and in honor of the precious lives we have lost to HIV. Together, we can forge a future in which no person — here in America or anywhere in our world — knows the pain or stigma caused by HIV/AIDS.
Five (5) Ways You Can Become Involved:
(1) Know your status: The only way to know your HIV status is to be tested. Locate testing sites in your area by accessing the CDC’s Get Tested interactive website. Here, you can find information on HIV, STD and Hepatitis testing sites near you. https://gettested.cdc.gov/search_results
(2) Select your words carefully-Avoid using language that has a negative connotation. Consider using preferred terms listed in this guide to do your part to reduce HIV-related stigma. https://www.cdc.gov/actagainstaids/pdf/campaigns/lsht/cdc-hiv-togetherstigmalanguageguide.pdf
(3) Address bias and misinformation head-on. Bias towards HIV-infection can stem from lack of knowledge and awareness, or the desire to disassociate from those who are at high risk for getting HIV. The Body an online resource guide, provides tips and strategies to reduce bias and misconceptions associated with HIV/AIDS.
(4) Learn more about innovative strategies and biomedical advancements to reduce HIV-infections: Online prevention tools are available to increase your level of knowledge about HIV-prevention efforts, PrEP and research findings. Evidence-based, online educational tools such as Be-PrEPared offer relevant information about new strategies for preventing HIV-infection. http://be-prepared.org/ecurriculum.html
(5) Go beyond December 1 – Be persistent. Pledge to disseminate information about HIV/AIDS beyond World AIDS Day. For tips and ideas, check out these infographics you can download and post to social media sites. http://www.cdc.gov/actagainstaids/campaigns/hivtreatmentworks/resources/infographics.html