Hiv/Aids and Aging Awareness Day is Approaching. Has HIV?AIDS Affected Your Life?
September 18, 2020 is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Month. According to The Aids Institute, on this day annually there is a national focus on day focuses on the challenging issues facing the aging population with regards to HIV prevention, testing, care and treatment
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE HIV/AIDS CONVERSATION?
When I was younger, it seems like the conversation around HIV/AIDS was everywhere. Late 80’s early 90’s HIV/AIDS was a big deal. In the last decade or so, conversation about it seems to have gotten much quieter. It’s become like the other lifelong STD’s and is rarely talked about, even as people adopt new sex partners. It’s 2020 and it still seems like discussing one’s sexual history and health are taboo.
HIV/AIDS HAS GREATLY AFFECTED MY LIFE
I’ll never forget the day in 1994 when My mother got an unexpected call at home; it was a stranger, yet she had news that would change the outcome of all of our lives. She’d found My pregnant mothers number and called to tell her that she had caught My mother’s boyfriend sleeping with her HIV positive sister. As a woman, she thought My mom should know.
It devastated My mom and destroyed our already broken family. Suddenly, My abuser needed My help and comfort. How the tables turn. Many people have been able to live long active live while HIV positive, My mom was never healthy to begin with so the disease ravaged her already sick body. She made it almost 5 years, fighting tooth and nail as HIV killed her from the inside. Just before I graduated from high school, a spring pneumonia took her out.
My mother couldn’t be saved, but maybe someone else can. HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention conversations and events are extremely important, especially in today’s Tinder and hook up culture.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
There are a variety of ways you can support this Important initiative in your own community such as
· Hosting a free HIV screening event through your local health department
· Provide resources for linkage to treatment and care for HIV infected older adults
· Organize health fairs that focus on HIV/AIDS and healthcare in older adults
· Encourage older adults to practice safer methods to prevent HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s)
· Conduct events at senior community centers or nursing home facilities
And much more. The key is to make sure that as people age that they don’t become lax about their sexual health and educating and providing resources for those already battling HIV/AIDS.
The CDC ( Center for Diseases Control) has an amazing campaign, the “Let’s Stop HIV Together” Campaign that offers a multitude of resources for HIV/AIDS advocates, allies and sufferers. They also offer opportunities to partner with them as well as social media tool kits to assist you in your online advocacy.