Though the conversation around HIV/AIDS has quieted since the 1980s and '90s, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimated in 2013 that more than 1.2 million individuals over the age of 13 were living with HIV in the United States; worldwide, over 36 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, according to the World Health Organization. Despite advances in HIV treatment, large portions of the developing world such as Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia are unable to afford medication or to implement preventative education. Those living in poverty are disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, both in the U.S. and abroad.
However, there are ways you can bring back the needed attention to HIV and AIDS. Here's how:
Debunk common misconceptions
There are still many common misconceptions associated with how HIV spreads and to whom it spreads; in fact, some people still believe HIV and AIDS are God's way of punishing LGBTQ people. One important way people can raise awareness is by using their platform—whether it's as a student, professor, activist, social media user, or parent—to debunk misinformation about HIV and AIDS. For those looking for a good resource, the CDC offers a detailed overview of HIV and AIDS in the United States.
Wear a red ribbon
A red ribbon is a universal symbol of support and solidarity for those living with HIV or AIDS (the pink breast cancer ribbon actually derived from this red one). Though it might not be the most vigilant way to bring attention to the cause, visibility is still important. Some retailers sell red ribbons, but it's also easy to make one at home with some ribbon and a safety pin.
Host or participate in a fundraising run
Marathons are hosted in many cities worldwide to raise awareness about and fundraise for HIV/AIDS. Organizations like Team to End Aids From Chicago or Positive East From London host "red runs" for World AIDS Day but there are many ways to host your own event if you can't find a run in your area.