World AIDS Day: how to get involved

Today, we are celebrating World AIDS Day to show our support for people living with AIDS, as well as take time to remember those who lost their lives to the virus. In this blog, we look at how you can get involved and help raise awareness.

Fighting the stigma

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of negative misconceptions surrounding AIDS. Examples might include:

  • Refusing to be around HIV positve people

  • Believing only certain groups of people can get HIV

  • Misconceptions about a person’s lifestyle e.g. belief that they contracted HIV due to  promiscuous behaviour

What’s the difference between HIV and AIDs? 

AIDS is the advanced phase of HIV infection, arising when the virus severely compromises the body’s immune system.

Who is at increased risk? 

  • Those with a current or past partner living with HIV

  • Individuals with a current or past partner from regions with high HIV prevalence

  • Those from areas with elevated HIV rates

  • Individuals engaging in chemsex (using drugs to facilitate or enhance sexual experiences)

  • Men practicing unprotected sex with other men

  • Women engaging in unprotected sex with men who have sex with men

  • People injecting drugs and sharing equipment

  • Individuals having unprotected sex with someone who has injected drugs and shared equipment

  • Those sharing sex toys with an HIV-infected individual

  • Individuals with a history of sexually transmitted infections, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C

  • People with multiple sexual partners

  • Individuals who have experienced sexual assault

  • Those who underwent blood transfusions, transplants, or other high-risk procedures in countries lacking robust HIV screening

  • Healthcare professionals at an extremely low risk of accidental needle pricks with infected needles

  • Babies born to a parent with untreated HIV

 

How to get involved 

  • Rock the ribbon – Purchase a red ribbon to show your support for World AIDS Day.

  • Put those posters up – Download these free posters to help raise awareness.

  • Educate others – Learn the facts around and history of AIDS and share your knowledge with others!

  • Use the hashtag #RockTheRibbon on your social media to spread the word.

 

Symptoms and getting tested 

Around 80% of people experience the following symptoms one to six weeks after they become infected with HIV:

  • Flu-like symptoms

  • Sore throat

  • Raised temperature

  • Rash

  • Fatigue

  • Joint/muscle pain

  • Swollen glands

It’s important to note that HIV may not cause any further symtoms for many years – however, the virus will remain active in your body and cause further damage. This is why regular testing and early diagnosis is crucial.

HIV tests are free and can be done at home. Simply follow the link to find out more about how to order yours.