Lets End It World AIDS Day 2017

Choma, did you know that the theme for World AIDS Day 2017 is “Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability, and Partnerships”? I think this is so fitting because fighting against HIV infections and stigma is something that requires us all to work together. Every year that we observe World AIDS Day means we’re one year closer to finding a cure, and also one year closer to achieving the goal of an HIV-free generation. So here are 3 steps on how you can use this year’s theme to help make an impact this year.

Be real about transparency

Chomas, part of this year’s theme is “transparency” which is all about honesty and openness, and the only way to be real about fighting against stigma and HIV/AIDS in general is to be real with yourself. Knowing your status (and if you’re in an intimate relationship, knowing your partner’s status) is the first and most important step you can take to join the cause for an HIV-free generation. Honesty is the best policy Chomas, and being transparent with yourself and your partner is the best way to start making an impact in your own life.

Be real about accountability

Accountability means taking responsibility for yourself and others and relates to transparency. It’s all about being able to answer truthfully for yourself, by doing so means it’s time to start reflecting on yourself. Try think back on some of your own decisions, the way you speak and think about HIV itself and about the people that are affected by it- these things will help you discover more about your attitude and how to change it for the better. And Choma, if we want to stand behind a cause, it means making choices every day that support it. These choices should be things like choosing to always, always use a condom if you’re sexually active, choosing to be faithful to your partner, and most importantly, choosing to love yourself first.

Another great way to be real about accountability is to dedicate yourself to learning as much as you can about HIV and being sexually responsible.

Be real about partnerships

So Choma, the previous points were all about taking personal action in the fight for an HIV-free generation. But just like any successful movement, change can only happen when a group of people partner together to make it happen. Now that you’ve made the changes within yourself, the next step is to involve the people around you. If you’re asking yourself how you can do this, the best place to start is with your friends and family, especially if they’re the people you can confide in and trust the most. Encourage them to take the steps you have – especially when it comes to knowing their statuses, learning more about HIV and talking openly about HIV.

Did you know I’ve recently launched a new platform on my website called “Make A Noise” where you can speak out about the changes you want to see in society? You could make use of this platform to speak out against HIV stigma and also to help educate other Chomas on what it is and how they can help make a change. You can read this article to find out how to create a post on the platform and share it with your friends online.

With all the developments in HIV/AIDS research, there is so much to be hopeful for. But making sure we can be part of an HIV-free generation means we have to all be in this together. Are you going to Make A Noise about World AIDS Day? Let me know in the comments.

Always remember, you can send me a message to talk to me about anything. So if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).