1. Learn the basics about HIV.
What does "HIV" stand for? How is HIV transmitted? What are the latest statistics worldwide? The best thing you can do this World AIDS Day is learn about the basics of HIV. This year's World AIDS Day theme is "Getting to Zero" and while that is a tall order, it starts with educating yourself about HIV.
2. Find out about the next wave of HIV/AIDS activism.
While gay men account for only 2% of the U.S. population, they account for 63% of new U.S. HIV cases at last count (that's more than 31,000 gay men who are newly diagnosed every year!). Young gay men, especially young gay men of color, shoulder an unfair amount of that burden. Learn more about prevention advocacy and the fourth wave of HIV activism, and how HIV affects young gay men globally -- and what's being done to turn this around.
3. Learn to make change through art.
Canada's biggest AIDS activist organization -- AIDS Action Now -- decorates Toronto every year with a string of provocative, NSFW posters that tackle topics like stigma (negative attitudes toward people living with HIV), disclosure (telling people you are HIV positive), sex and imprisonment.
4. Learn how to discuss your HIV status -- communication is sexy!
Knowing and openly discussing your HIV status with a partner can lead to much safer, sexier sex.
5. Know that, even if your partner is HIV positive, you can have an HIV-negative baby!
Not only is it possible, it's completely normal. Ask the author of the brand new short book HIV and Baby Makes Three. "Mixed-status" (one partner living with HIV, the other HIV negative) couples can conceive HIV-negative babies -- even if the couples have unprotected sex.
6. Take in some new perspectives, especially from people living with HIV.
For many reasons, not everyone living with HIV can be public about their status -- and that's OK. But, many people who are open with their status write about their experiences so that others don't have to fear. Some write about their desire to end HIV, others about life after their diagnosis, and even about surviving the Boston Marathon attack. People living with HIV are more than just their status, and they have a lot to say.
7. Get up to date on the latest questions in the HIV field.
The HIV field is constantly changing and always evolving. Want to know what the people involved think of some of the biggest questions in HIV? Check out these experts and community members discuss what concerns them most about those growing older with HIV, and which communities need more attention when it comes to talking about HIV.
8. Get involved, in person or online.
9. Now, put all your knowledge to the test!
Do you know who "Patient Zero" is? Or when was the first World AIDS Day? How much do you really know about HIV/AIDS?
10. Show your support by putting a red ribbon on your Facebook or Twitter.
The red ribbon is the universally recognized symbol for HIV/AIDS awareness, and you can add one to your Facebook or Twitter with this handy Twibbon page.
Give yourself a pat on the back -- you're ready for World AIDS Day!!