10 Things You Can Do Right Now To Stop AIDS

February 28, 2013

Ending AIDS is entirely within this generation’s reach. While legislation will likely be required to bring the AIDS era to a close, government alone cannot stop AIDS. In the end, we’re the ones we’ve been waiting for. Here are ten things you can do right now to stop AIDS:

  1. Approach AIDS as a local issue. While many tend to think of AIDS as a far-away third-world problem, HIV knows no boundaries and affects women and men of all nationalities, races, sexual orientations and socioeconomic classes — including those in your hometown.
  2. Learn the facts, share the facts. Search the internet, read articles and attend programs on AIDS and AIDS prevention. Correct misconceptions and open eyes by sharing resources on social media.
  3. Challenge STI/HIV stigma in everyday situations. Call out comments, jokes and insults that shame those with STIs and prevent many sexually active teens and adults from getting tested.
  4. Wrap it up. Every time. Nothing stops AIDS like the correct and consistent use of latex condoms. With a little imagination, sex with condoms can be more pleasurable than sex without condoms.
  5. Have an open relationship. And not in the having-multiple-partners sort of way, either, but by openly discussing your sexual history and HIV status with your partner. Haven’t been tested lately? Tell them. Healthy relationships are built on honest communication and a mutual respect for each other’s safety.
  6. Speak out against homophobia. Anti-gay discrimination, bullying and violence are wrong in and of themselves but also fuel the AIDS epidemic by making it difficult for some to be open about same-sex behaviors and seek necessary screenings and treatment.
  7. Get care. If you are living with HIV, appropriate treatment can keep you healthy and prevent transmission to others. And don’t forget about your emotional health, either. Joining an AIDS support group is a great way to connect with people who really get it.
  8. Mentor. Show younger sisters and brothers the way by helping them understand the importance of protection, testing and treatment. Create a relationship where they feel safe talking about sex, HIV and STIs. Lead by example and get tested together.
  9. Volunteer at an AIDS service organization. Already part of a student, faith or community group? Host an HIV screening event or organize an AIDS awareness day in your community.
  10. Finally, if you’re sexually active, get tested. Take everyone you love with you, especially anyone you’re having sex with.

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