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Opinion: 5 ways to be an ally this #WorldAidsDay

Opinion piece by Princess Makhura

The 1st of December represents #WorldAidsDay, whereby people around the world show support and respect for everyone living with, or affected by HIV/AIDS.

Contributing towards an HIV- free generation should be everyone’s responsibility, and if you’re wondering how you can be an ally today, here are 5 ways:

Get tested

With over 4 million South Africans living with HIV, knowing your status is important. Getting tested knowing your status doesn’t mean you’re promiscuous, instead, it means you can keep yourself and your sexual partner healthy.

If you are diagnosed with HIV earlier, you have a greater chance of starting your treatment and living a long and healthy life.

Wear a red ribbon

Wearing a red ribbon is the universal symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV/AIDS.

So, wear your red ribbon to raise awareness and show support to those living with, or affected by HIV/AIDS.

Don’t stigmatize

Don’t shame and discriminate against those living with HIV, and speak out against the societal stereotypes and myths regard HIV/AIDS.

Use protection

If you’re sexually active, you should prioritize using protection at all times to reduce your risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

If you’re unable to afford protection, you can always visit your nearest healthcare facility for free condoms.

Spread awareness

A lot of people are still ill-informed when it comes to HIV/AIDS. Speak up and create awareness about the virus so the next person can be empowered and we can all contribute towards a HIV-free generation.

Living with HIV is not a death sentence as you can live a long and healthy life. So, do not be afraid to get tested because knowing your status is sexually responsible.

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