Commemorate World AIDS Day

By Jesse Brooks Observed worldwide on the first of December since 1998, World AIDS Day is a time when millions of people come together to commemorate people who have lost their lives to HIV and look for ways to make progress in responding to the epidemic and recommit to ending the scourge. The impact of AIDS among African-Americans in some parts of the United States is as severe as in parts of Africa. AIDS remains the leading cause of death among Black women between ages 25 and 34 in the U.S., and it is second-leading cause of death for Black men 35-44. The theme for 2012 is “Getting to Zero – Working Together for an AIDS-Free Generation.” Here are some things individuals can do to commemorate World AIDS Day: Get educated. Do you know the difference between HIV and AIDS? How does one get AIDS? What can you do to prevent AIDS? In the age of the Internet, there’s no excuse not to arm yourself with accurate facts. Get tested. Know your own risk of exposure to HIV. Many people do not know their status and unknowingly pass on the virus to sexual partners through unprotected sex. Take part in fundraisers – all year round. Start preparing now to participate in one or both huge AIDS Walks that occur in the Bay Area – the East Bay AIDS Walk or San Francisco AIDS Walk. Oppose the stigma of HIV discrimination by being an understanding family member, friend, colleague or stranger and encouraging others to do so. Sign up to volunteer. There are nonprofit organizations that are looking for people who are willing to contribute time, skills and expertise. Make a donation. With budget cuts crippling agencies, money is always welcome. Wear a red ribbon. Tell people what it stands for or even add one to your Facebook page, or Tweet about World AIDS Day. A free documentary and panel discussion, “Many Women, One Voice” Black Women and HIV/AIDS, will be held on Dec. 1 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Alumni House at the UC Berkeley campus. For information contact nlittlegso@gmail.com. Also, a grand opening of the AIDS Health Foundation’s Men’s Wellness Center will be held Dec. 1 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at 238 E. 18th St. (near Lake Merritt) in Oakland. For more information contact mrjessebrooksii@gmail.com or (510) 575-8245.
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