Hey you. Yeah, you. Did you get tested yesterday? Yes? Come over here so I can give you a hug, you big, brave warrior in the fight against HIV. No? Did you at least make plans for when you will be? Please do. I care about you, and knowing your status is your first step in either living positively, or assessing your risks to continue being HIV negative, depending.

Anyway, here’s a little light reading/viewing to ponder, discuss, and ease you into your post-World AIDS Day weekend.

Op-Ed: As Long as Homophobia Lives, AIDS Won’t Die

While I did not tolerate or approve of homosexual people and homosexual activities, I did not mind their existence in Zambian society as long as they kept their distance from me, my family, and my career. What I did not realize was that my prejudiced line of thinking (as an “educated HIV activist,” no less) was exactly why the gay/MSM community was being left out of the HIV/AIDS discussion. Left alone. Left, in many cases, to become infected, get sick, and die.

Fight AIDS With Family Planning

215 million women worldwide are not using an effective method of contraception despite the fact that they want to avoid pregnancy. The largest segment of these women live in sub-Saharan Africa and many are at risk of HIV. Women account for 60 percent of people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, and young women between the ages of 15-24 are up to eight times more likely to be infected than men of the same age.

Sub-Saharan Africa Leads World in Drop in HIV Rate

Officials with the U.N. AIDS organization said Friday that countries with the largest epidemics in Africa are leading the drop in the number of infections. Those include Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Aids-free generation can be achieved, says US secretary of state Hillary Clinton

Science had shown that Aids can be defeated – even if the virus which causes it will be around for the foreseeable future, she said. Three tools, used in combination, could turn the tide: preventing babies from being infected at birth; voluntary male circumcision, which reduces female to male transmission of the virus by 60%; and anti-retroviral drug treatment, which recent studies have shown not only keep those with HIV alive but reduces the risk of transmitting the infection to their partner by 96%.

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