Image Courtesy of The Herald Sun. December 2, 2016.
December 1st, also known as World AIDS Day (WAD), is a day in which we acknowledge the progress we’ve made HIV prevention and treatment, as well as the next steps to further that progress. WAD 2016 was the first year that I was able to participate from a professional standpoint and it was truly one of the most rewarding experiences to date. As a professional, I was able to attend a symposium that discussed HIV clinical epidemiology and HIV reservoirs, as well as a community commemoration event. Hearing how far we’ve come in HIV prevention/treatment and stories from those who are HIV+ reminded me of why I do that work that I do and love the work that I do. There is such a huge stigma associated not only with HIV, but also with STIs. Of course as educators, we must inform people how to prevent infection, but we also must let it be known that becoming infected is not a death sentence. Many people can live a long, healthy life with HIV, but it is very important to know your status and your partner’s status. The fight against AIDS is about social justice & reaching those who still lack access. Let it be noted that people who are infected need someone in their corner fighting with/for them and ma king sure they are aware of the resources available. I stand in solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV, do you? Let’s unite in the fight, reduce the stigma, and become One4Zero.