World AIDS Day 20X

December 1 is World AIDS Day.

Seeing as how DC has one of the highest AIDS rates in the nation with 3% of the population affected, this is an issue I am keen on spreading awareness of. It's really disturbing to me that despite all the information we have on HIV/AIDS and how to prevent its transmission, tens of thousands of new people are infected each year. I wish I could hold up a picture to you guys to show the devastation an HIV/AIDS diagnosis causes not only to the person diagnosed, but their friends and family, too. The thing is, a person with HIV/AIDS looks just like me or you--look in a mirror, and that's the face of HIV/AIDS, if you fail to take proper precautions.

And don't take comfort in the fact that medicine can ward off symptoms if you do contract the disease. Not only can those meds be extraordinarily expensive, they come with side effects of their own that can make you look and feel even worse.

I recently read an article in the New York Times ("As H.I.V. Babies Come of Age, Problems Linger") that shows the continuing effect of the disease on some of the youngest people affected by it. The sad part is, all the young people featured in that article had no choice in whether they contracted the disease or not; their fate was chosen for them. Given the wealth of information we have on the transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS today, their story doesn't have to be yours.

The best prevention against HIV/AIDS is education. Knowing how to protect yourself and your partner(s) is key in reducing the spread of the disease. Also, educating yourself on the risk factors, signs and symptoms, and myths surrounding HIV/AIDS is quite helpful. Take a gander around these sites to learn more:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Mayo Clinic
  • World Health Organization
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