For all of you health nerds, today is World AIDS Day! This is a day to educate yourself about HIV transmission and to remind you to get tested and know your status. Many student organizations on campus took part in a tabling event to promote wellness in Haven Hall, a building on the Diag. Droves of tentative students approached booths covered in free safer sex supplies, cupcakes for sale, information about HIV and AIDS, and GYT (Get yourself tested) giveaways during passing times. As many students learned, students at the University of Michigan have free HIV testing services available on campus through University Health Services. Both confidential and anonymous options are available to students to learn their status and receive counseling to discuss how frequently they should get tested, how soon after risky sex you can get tested, and their HIV status. Graduate students at the University (especially students in SPH!) may also consider volunteering as HIV Test Counselors to provide this unique service to our students.
This year World AIDS Day is launching a cool, new campaign called #rethinkhiv, challenging us to rethink the outdated stereotypes associated with having HIV. If you didn’t get a chance to tell everyone you know about World AIDS Day, you still can help spread the word by reposting these facts to help us rethink HIV.
- Knowing how HIV is transmitted is important to break down the stigmatization of people who have positive HIV status. Knowing your status is one of the best ways to prevent transmission to your partners.
2) Many people think that women with positive HIV status always transmit the virus to their newborn children. Mothers taking antiretroviral therapy drugs during pregnancy, labor and delivery can greatly reduce this chance.
3) Many people minimize the prevalence of transmission through sexual encounters. Injection drugs users may have increased risk of HIV and Hep C, but they are the minority of HIV positive persons.
Do your part and try to reduce the stigma of HIV status and help acknowledge World AIDS Day!