5 Ways to Celebrate World AIDS Day

In honor of celebration week, I wanted to write about an important event that just happened this past weekend: World AIDS Day. In case you missed it, or want to keep up the spirit of World AIDS day for all of December, here are 5 things YOU can do to celebrate World AIDS day.
  1. Donate (your time and/or money) – Go here to find an AIDS Service Organization (ASO) near you. Give them a call and ask to speak to their volunteer coordinator. You could hand out condoms, make condom packets, work the table at events, or even answers the hotline phones with a little training. If you feel like you don’t have enough time to volunteer, ask to speak to their development director instead. This person will be able to help you donate to the organization and make sure your money gets to the best place to help people living with HIV.
  2. Advocate – Make sure you understand the federal, state, and local laws around HIV, and what protections are in place to keep people living with HIV in health care and protect them from discrimination. This page has some interesting cases that can help you get informed about HIV cases in the US.
  3. Educate – Sadly, the fact is that many people are still discriminated against because of their HIV status. One way to overcome this is to inform yourself and then inform others about the way HIV is transmitted. Even some people who are infected themselves are still misinformed about how HIV is transmitted. Remember, you can’t get it from kissing or sharing cups, silverware, or bathrooms. If people make uninformed comments about transmitting HIV, make sure to correct them.
  4. Test(ulate?) – Go here. Enter your ZIP code. Call one of the agencies listed, or just get yourself there. Get tested for HIV. Encourage your friends, family, and sex partners to do the same.
  5. Make a Status Sexy avatar – Build your own Superhero Advocate! Okay, this is a really cool one. And, full disclosure, my agency (AIDS Partnership Michigan) houses and helps to fund the Status Sexy initiative. But there’s something about safer sex superheroes that really appeals to me. Go ahead, make one up and share it on Facebook. Make it sexy, make it strong, and make it safe! Mine’s Captain Preventer. He has a condom shield. His motto: One Ounce, One Pound, One Purpose. Prevent HIV.
Hope you have a wonderful time doing your part to celebrate World AIDS Day.

About Craig VanKempen

Craig VanKempen

Craig VanKempen, LLMSW/MPH, is a sex educator and therapist practicing in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area. His professional interests include HIV, polyamory, compulsive sexual behavior, religion and sexuality, and GLBT issues.