I, thankfully, have never experienced HIV/AIDS on a personal level. Yes, I've been tested but no one I know personally has been affected by this issue. However when I came out I did get to chat to several men who had been out on the scene in the 1980s and who lost many friends to this awful illness. We must all work together to try and defeat this virus so that no one needs lose any more friends.
World AIDS Day is about remembering what is important: AIDS awareness (take a quiz here to learn things you probably didn't know!), knowing your status (find your nearest HIV testing centre), and trying to make this a HIV/AIDS free world. Eradication is NOT impossible. We can end this. We need to educate people in how to prevent it and help those who have it.
Ultimately this all comes down to money. And that is something we can all help with. Please donate to the National AIDS Trust and/or the Terrence Higgins Trust.
AIDS is not a "gay disease" but in the UK gay men are still the most likely group to get it. 3000 gay men were diagnosed with HIV in 2011. That is the highest number ever recorded. It is vital we spread the message about safe sex and getting tested regularly.
We must never forget what HIV/AIDS did to our community. The following documentary and movie are extremely good at showing how devastating this illness was (and is). We must fight it, with all our might.
And The Band Played On:
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist