December: AIDS Awareness Month

world aids day 2012_logo2AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) has become a prominent health issue not only in the United States but around the globe. Finding a cure would be ideal, however the best way to combat AIDS is to arm people with knowledge about the disease. To spread awareness about AIDS, the month of December has been dedicated to educating people on the disease, how to prevent it, and how to live with it.

AIDS is caused by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) which is a virus that attacks the immune system by destroying cells that help you to fight off diseases. HIV is transmitted from human to human through bodily fluids. These fluids include, but are not limited to, blood, semen, breast milk, and vaginal fluids. HIV can be spread by sexual contact, needle sharing, or any other transfusion with infected blood.

Although there is no cure for AIDS, it can be treated and prevented. Some ways to prevent the contraction of HIV includes practicing safe sex, using new/clean needles, and knowing your HIV status along with the status of your partner(s). Getting tested for HIV is simple and often time includes getting a blood sample drawn via a needle or a mouth swab. The arrival of test results range anywhere from 20 minutes to a few days.

The theme this year for World’s AIDS Day is “Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation.” The Getting To Zero Campaign continues until 2015 with a goal of Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination, and Zero AIDS Related Deaths. World Aids Campaign is encouraging AIDS/HIV organizations to select one of the three zeroes as their focus for the next two years.

Knowledge is power, so this month gain awareness about AIDS/HIV and decrease your chances of contracting a disease that is preventable.  For more information about AIDS awareness visit


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December – AIDS Awareness Month

world aids day 2012_logo2In 2001, I was diagnosed with HIV which I contracted from my ex-husband who knowingly infected me. I was devastated as well as shocked! I knew HIV was not a death sentence but, I sure did not know how I was going to cope after getting this unexpected diagnosis. Well, I did more than cope, I actually took a stand on HIV by becoming an educator and activist in my community.

No it was not very easy being transparent and allowing others into my personal space but, then I began to realize that it is not about me and there are many others who need to be empowered by someone else’s experience. In 2004, I made the decision to speak out publicly and educate others on prevention of HIV/AIDS and other STDs as well as, how to live healthy productive and fulfilled lives despite adversities.

My desire is to help others understand the importance of avoiding risky behaviors that would result in an HIV positive diagnosis. My goal as an activist is to press the importance of knowing your status by getting tested, empower those who have received a positive diagnosis to love yourself and know that you are not alone, help others get connected with those who are a good support system, and influence communities to get educated to become more aware of prevention measures to avoid a diagnosis of HIV. There are many websites and organizations that provide resources, educational information, and even support. I have listed a few websites below as well as information on how to contact myself. Be encouraged and know that you are never alone.

Alicia HealedLee Diggs