December is associated with several major holidays observed by people of different faiths and cultures. What you may not have known is that December is also the designated International AIDS Awareness Month, kicking off at December 1, which is also World AIDS Day.
The victims of HIV/AIDS comprise people of all types and cultures, despite what many may assume. This makes it especially fitting that December, a time when most of the world comes together to reexamine things that are important, is also the time to remember the victims, heroes, and societal impact of the disease.
Here are some ways to effectively commemorate AIDS Awareness Month
1.) Educate yourself on new developments
Education is the main purpose of the month. Many things have changed in our scientific understanding of the disease since it was first identified in the early 1980s. Treatments, best practices for patient care, and the understanding of the psychological impact the disease has for all involved has improved by leaps and bounds since then.
Your knowledge may be outdated and possibly cause misunderstandings and other issues. This month may very well be an excellent time to get up-to-date on a topic that has fallen out of favor with mainstream reporting yet remains extremely relevant to this day.
2.) Donate to AIDS and HIV treatment research
There are many avenues available for donating to AIDS research. Regardless of where you lie ideologically, there is bound to be a foundation or NGO that you can contribute to to help in finding a cure and better treatments for patients.
3.) Wear custom made lapel pins
Custom made lapel pins are a visible and tasteful way to show solidarity with victims, caregivers, and researchers. They can also be a great way to open up a reasoned discussion on the disease as well, possibly helping increase donations to AIDS research. Handing them to your friends and coworkers can also be a great way of increasing awareness, perhaps all-year-round. Check out Wristband Creation for quality custom pins and more.
4.) Encourage others to donate as well
Try not to end a discussion on the topic without suggesting or offering avenues for donation. Every little bit helps!
5.) Learn how to support someone who lives with AIDS/HIV
Chances are you already know someone living with the disease, perhaps openly or in secret. Their caregivers and family are victims as well, and you may know some of these people without realizing it.
While everyone is different, try to learn about current best practices in dealing with someone who has opened up the topic with you. It’s critical we all learn how to handle the topic with sensitivity and open-mindedness. This can be very important in making those involved understand that they are truly not alone.
6.) Don’t forget about the caregivers
The caregivers of the victims of the disease are often psychologically devastated, sometimes more so than the people they care for. Remember that they are also profoundly affected by HIV/AIDS and are also victims of this pandemic, yet very little thought is given to them. Being a caregiver is exhausting and emotionally devastating, so understanding their common mental health issues should be a crucial part of any HIV/AIDS awareness campaign as well.
AIDS Awareness Month only aims to educate. But taking concrete action is simple if you are determined to help end the disease. For all you know, all it may take is for someone to notice your custom made lapel pins to spark a conversation and a donation that changes someone’s life for the better.