Commemorating World AIDS Day during apandemic

World AIDS Day takes place on the 1st of December every year. It’s an opportunity for people around the world to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS, to show support and to commemorate those who’ve died from AIDS-related illnesses. HIV and AIDS affects all of us directly or indirectly- at school, work, in our families, at church and in most areas of our lives. We all have a responsibility to contribute to an HIV-free generation. Here’s how to show your support this year.

Attend a World AIDS Day event

Attending an event online or in your community is a wonderful way to commemorate World AIDS Day. The events vary from workshops, seminars, or expos. You can use this opportunity to learn more about HIV/AIDS and the different interventions put in place to reach an HIV-free generation. When you attend these events, ensure that COVID-19 safety protocols are followed. You should wear a mask at all times, sanitise your hands regularly, and observe social distancing, even if you’re fully vaccinated. You can also follow my live content around World AIDS Day on my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Volunteer at an organisation

It’s important to commit to something you feel strongly about, not just because you feel like you should do it. Perhaps, you’re passionate about talking to youth in your community about HIV. Find what is meaningful to you, and then volunteer at a local community-based organisation (CBO) that focuses on HIV/AIDS.

Stay informed

It’s important to stay informed with facts. Researchers are constantly finding new and possible solutions in fighting the virus. Only share accurate information with your friends and family to help stop HIV stigma and myths.

Encouraging individual action

Check your HIV status regularly. You can make your way to a local clinic or a tent in your area and get tested. If you’re living with HIV, do everything you can to stay on your treatment. If you’re struggling with HIV treatment adherence, you can chat to me or your healthcare provider.

If you’re sexually active, protect yourself and your sexual partners by always using a condom every time you have sex.

If you’re in a mixed status or a high-risk relationship, you should consider PrEP. All these services are available at local World AIDS Day events and your local clinic.

Follow hashtags on social media

Share accurate information about HIV and AIDS on your social media to help spread the word. You can follow the Department of Health on Facebook for regular updates. Some of the trending hashtags from last year include: #WorldAIDSDay #ChekaImpilo #KnowYour Status #EndAIDS #WAD #GetTested. Why not use some of these hashtags on your own social media to create awareness?

This World AIDS Day, let’s celebrate the progress we’ve made, honour those we’ve lost, educate others, get involved, and unite in our global fight to end this virus.

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).