World Aids Day 2013

Today December 1st is World Aids Day. Since 1988 it has been a way to talk about a subject that no one likes or wants to talk about. The purpose of World Aids Day is to talk about the state of HIV/AIDS in the world. A day to reflect on the history, a day to look back at all that we have learned, a day to take stock and acknowledge the failures and successes to ending the HIV epidemic.

What we know: As per the CDC –

Only certain fluids—blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk—from an HIV-infected person can transmit HIV. These fluids must come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or be directly injected into the bloodstream (from a needle or syringe) for transmission to possibly occur. Mucous membranes can be found inside the rectum, the vagina, the opening of the penis, and the mouth.

In the United States, HIV is spread mainly by Having unprotected sex (sex without a condom) with someone who has HIV. Anal sex is the highest-risk sexual behavior. Receptive anal sex (bottoming) is riskier than insertive anal sex (topping). Vaginal sex is the second highest-risk sexual behavior. Having multiple sex partners or having other sexually transmitted infections can increase the risk of infection through sex. Sharing needles, syringes, rinse water, or other equipment (works) used to prepare injection drugs with someone who has HIV.


I am passionate about HIV activism. I have seen HIV’s effect on individual lives, families, and communities. I remain dedicated to the fight because I see it being something we could accomplish, (an end to HIV) as individuals we have the ability to make a huge shift. We just need to refocus our attention, and readjust our intentions.

HIV has a wealth of stigma attached to it. Contrary to popular belief, now or in the beginning, HIV is not a gay thing. Or a black thing. Or a poor people thing for that matter. It is a people thing. But unlike any other serious illness, we see HIV as a punishment for some bad behavior. We don’t say to someone who is sick with cancer “see that’s what you get for smoking” but we do think the worst of a person who is recently diagnosed with HIV. It has to be scandalous. Oh the salacious details abound.

Really it’s just about sex. The fact is most of us have or will have sex. We all do it. There now that is out of the way, let’s acknowledge that when it comes to sex we all make mistakes. WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES. Human relations is a tough and murky field. which is why there are still more questions than answers. Sex is complicated.

30 years and HIV is still going strong. The most recent numbers aren’t really all that shocking. The trend continues. However now the world is starting to notice that it affects everyone. It isn’t narrowly linked to any one group. It is a human problem, connected to something that makes humans uncomfortable to talk about – Sex.

A disease that no one wants to talk about, with the connected behavior that makes people uneasy to talk about. Quite a recipe for disaster. That is exactly what we need – To Talk About It! We need to have an honest dialogue both within ourselves and within our social groups.

My point is not to scare you but to get you to ask some tough questions. To start a conversation. The more honest we are about HIV the better equipped we are to addressing the needs of those affected and to prevent new infections until we find a cure or vaccine.

With the Thanksgiving holiday almost over, in those moments when you reflect on your life and the lives of those you love, remember that sickness and disease is something that we are all at risk of. We all face health challenges. Let’s address HIV as a health challenge, and not a punishment, or repercussion for some bad act or naughty behavior. Let us move away from the sex shame attitudes, to a more compassionate understanding of the serious health threat facing our brothers and sisters in this world.

HIV is a virus. Just like any other virus. We certainly don’t shame people for catching the flu. Any virus can disrupt the body, the life, and community of any one of those of us who are blessed to breath. A virus doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care about skin color, gender or sexuality. Then why I ask do we treat HIV differently than we would any other virus?

amfAR- Getting to Zero

I don’t have the answer to that question. You do. Each individual is important to the fight. Get tested. Know your status. Be empowered. Help find a solution to a solvable problem. This is something that you can do. Be proactive. Use condoms. Support community non-profits. Engage your peers. Talk! Speak Up!

Now Get out there and change the world.

For more info

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