In March, there are national efforts to help prevent HIV and AIDS among those at risk. Here’s what you should know.
- Statistics: Action and awareness are needed now
- There are challenges to HIV infection prevention
- What you can do to build awareness
[2 MIN READ]
Two days in March are designed to bring attention to how HIV and AIDS affect the health and well-being of women, girls and Native Americans.
- March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
- March 20 is National Native American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
Statistics show the need for awareness — and action. Not just among these groups, but among so many others who are at risk.
Simple and effective ways to prevent HIV
Today, it’s possible to keep a person from getting an HIV infection leading to AIDS or passing the virus on to a partner or a baby. Many of these simple methods are effective when done consistently and correctly. They include:
- Using medicines to treat HIV
- Using medicines to prevent HIV
- Using condoms
- Having only low-risk sex
- Only having partners who have the same HIV status
- Not having sex
Challenges to HIV prevention still exist
Yet there are still challenges to HIV prevention — not just among women, girls and Native Americans, but among many groups in the U.S. The challenges that need to be overcome to prevent HIV and AIDS include:
- Many people don’t know they have it
- Many don’t receive ongoing treatment
- Certain demographics often aren’t exposed to prevention programs that are tailored to them
- Certain groups face social and economic imbalances
- There are limited resources for HIV prevention in some communities
People who don’t know they have HIV can’t get the HIV care and treatment they need. They may also unknowingly pass HIV to others. For instance, according to the CDC, it’s estimated that among women, currently one in nine with HIV don’t know they have it. And when they have a baby, the risk is very high that they will pass it on.
Every day is a chance to support HIV awareness
During awareness-building events such as National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day — and year-round — there are a number of helpful resources and programs that can help prevent the spread of the disease.
Local health departments and community-based organizations can help family members and friends encourage at-risk groups to seek screenings and treatment. Here are a few things you can do:
- Encourage people you care about to get tested. For instance, motivate girls older than 15 to be tested at least once. Urge people you know who may be at risk to learn their HIV status and protect themselves.
- Discuss how to prevent HIV and AIDS. Aside from testing, there are other ways to help those you know who may be at risk for HIV. Urge them to:
- Know a partner's HIV status
- Choose sexual behaviors that are less risky
- Use condoms
- Offer positive examples. Use resources that show how people who are living with HIV overcome barriers so they can stay in care and live well with HIV.
- Join with organizations to raise awareness. Support community efforts to build awareness about testing, prevention and maintaining care among populations that are affected by HIV.
Look for organizations whose unique objectives and audiences match yours. They’re more likely to tailor their messaging to at-risk groups by using various communication tools and platforms. For instance, the program HIV Treatment Works, shows how people with HIV are successfully receiving care and treatment.
In the end, these organizations’ goals are ones we can all share: To help prevent people from getting an HIV infection. And encourage those who have to HIV to stay healthy and enjoy greater well-being and a longer life.
Find a doctor
Are you looking for a doctor who understands the issues and concerns related to HIV and AIDS? Find a doctor you can trust in our provider directory.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
About the AuthorMore Content by Swedish Wellness & Lifestyle Team