The state of the epidemic has changed drastically in South Africa, from AIDS being perceived as a "death sentence" to a chronic, manageable disease. So many of us are living positively and we owe this to the advanced treatments that have been design to help fight the virus.
- da sassi diva, South Africa
I was reading a book yesterday that presented the notion that the fear of the "the thing" is often actually worse than the thing itself. I have found this to be particularly true in the case of my HIV. At this point (HIV + for 5 years), what I have done to myself in worry, self-stigmatization, and anxiety is far worse than what the virus has actually physically done to me. My goal for the year is to live in the healthy body that I have today and not worry about the "someday" possibilities of what HIV may bring.
Since its inception in 1995, World AIDS Day has been a day of reflection within the AIDS community. Over the past 18 years we have collectively memorialized the millions of lives lost and honored the brave souls who have been diagnosed all while encouraging the masses to get tested and help raise awareness. This World AIDS Day I'd like to propose that we, as a global society, go a step further in our efforts to end AIDS and commit to addressing, assessing and eliminating the economic, racial and gender inequalities that contribute to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
- Connie, USA
HIV stops with me! Please, if you know you have the virus, disclose before engaging in sexual relations. Do not put anyone at risk because of selfish reasons, or because of STIGMA, or because of being turned down. I have never been rejected, and I believe it is because I bring the subject up and feel the person out. I do not let my emotions get too deep before I disclose. I also know that a person has all the RIGHT to not want to deal with this situation or any situation! This is respectable! Many write me from all over the world and tell me that they are married, and they are afraid to tell their spouses because they cheated or because of the fear to be left. PLEASE, it is much worse if you put someone at risk! We have to take responsibility in our actions. It is very important to have self-love as well, and know that you are worthy and not worthless for having a virus!! Once you start having worth and know how important you are and how blessed someone is to have you, you will attract people that see you exactly for who you are. Do not be afraid!!
- Maria, USA
Eradicate IGNORANCE through power of KNOWLEDGE. Let the light of knowledge) shine on HIV, and let there be no more darkness (ignorance) that give rise to fears, stigma and discrimination. Let our goal for 2014 be to make the world a better and happy place for People Living With HIV/AIDS to live in. With Acceptance. With Love. With Respect.
HIV does not discriminate. Regardless of sexual orientation, religion, economic class, or race, you are at risk. I once considered HIV a homosexual or IV drug user disease. I really was clueless that despite being neither, I was still at risk. I was just a small town girl, college educated, and thought by only having sex with those that I was in a committed relationship, I was 'safe'. But I am HIV positive. Get educated and protect yourself. No one deserves to feel the emotional pain, physical problems and social stigma that come along with this disease.
- Kate, USA
I want people all around the globe to know that having an HIV-free generation is possible. But we as individuals have to play our role in this fight. If you have never been tested, then get tested, know your status, get counseling and if necessary, take your drugs. To pregnant women with HIV, seek the necessary counselling, because there are service centers all around to prevent your children from getting HIV. To people who are sexually active and have tested negative, you have to either use protection or abstain to remain negative! And I don't want to forget the government, international bodies, NGO's and individuals that contribute in this fight - do not grow weary! If you haven't started contributing to the fight then start now - it's not too late!! Having an HIV-free generation is possible and it truly begins with you!!!
- African leaders, keep the promise on HIV/AIDS!!!
- Test! Test!! Test!!! And Treat! Treat! Treat!!
- We need research on vaccine, microbicide and treatment.
- The time to act is NOW.
- Bose, Nigeria
HIV can affect any one of us, we all need to look out for ourselves and others.