World AIDS Day
Every year, we celebrate World AIDS Day on December 1st. We have good reasons for doing so.
“World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education,” says the National AIDS Trust.
Note that the National AIDS Trust says that it’s important to fight prejudice surrounding HIV and AIDS. That’s important, because although things are better, there is still prejudice surrounding HIV and AIDS and other conditions, such as addiction.
While doing certain things might increase our risks of developing HIV/AIDS and addiction, such as having unprotected sex or misusing drugs, they’re just a few risk factors that may or not contribute to conditions as complex as HIV/AIDS and addiction.
In addition, if people have an addiction or AIDS, their bodies are already punishing them, often quite harshly. They don’t need the additional emotional pain of judgment and prejudice from others. There’s a good chance they’re judging themselves already.
Such judgment can make people afraid to seek help to treat HIV/AIDS or an addiction. This reluctance could make an addiction or the side effects of HIV/AIDS worse, which could make people even more reluctant to seek much-needed help.
Fearing judgment and prejudice, people might not get tested for HIV or AIDS. If they don’t get tested, they won’t be diagnosed and won’t receive treatment if they do have HIV or AIDS. If they have unprotected sex, share needles, or exchange bodily fluids with others, they can expose others to those conditions.
Similarly, if people are afraid that others will judge them for an addiction, they might not seek treatment. But the longer people go without treatment, the more damage drugs and alcohol can do. Often, the longer people misuse drugs and alcohol, the harder it is to treat their addictions because the substances harm the brain and the body.
People who suspect that they have addictions and HIV/AIDS have enough problems. They shouldn’t have to deal with prejudices that can make things worse.
worldaidsday.org – About World AIDS Day
sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – LGBTQ Addiction Treatment Resources
newsinhealth.nih.gov – Biology of Addiction: Drugs and Alcohol Can Hijack Your Brain
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