World AIDS Day 2017: Let’s End the Isolation, Stigmatization and Transmission of HIV December 1, 2017 by Krista Park Berry
Today, as you go about your day, you may come across a distinct fashion accessory: a red ribbon. While at first glance there may not be much to it, the ribbon symbolizes something profound: HIV awareness. Those who sport a red ribbon commemorate the 35 million people who have died from HIV or AIDS and those who are currently living with the disease.
World AIDS Day is commemorated annually on December 1st. This year, the theme for the National AIDS Trust campaign is “Let’s End It” in an attempt to “End Isolation, End Stigma, and End Transmission of HIV.” On this day, which was first recognized in 1988, we are called to wear red ribbons in solitude, raise money for HIV/AIDS care, and volunteer for local organizations like CFK that promote awareness. In doing so, we can help finish the fight for good.
Although it is difficult to gauge exactly how many people in Kibera HIV and AIDS affect, it is estimated that 1 in 11 test positive for HIV in Kibera. Birth control continues to carry stigma in Kibera and many local people neglect to be tested.
Dedicated to changing both this stigmatization and the local infection rate, we offer free and confidential testing and counseling to Kiberans throughout the year. Annually, we administer HIV testing for at least 3,000 people and work each day to increase the number tested. We also facilitate referrals to local hospitals for further treatment, and many receive care from our very own Tabitha Medical Clinic in the heart of Kibera.
Time and time again, peer to peer interactions have proven to be more effective in promoting awareness about sexual health and contraception. Our youth peer educators and community health volunteers play a critical role in educating the community of Kibera about ways to prevent transmission of HIV and AIDS.
Join us this World AIDS Day and say “Let’s End It.” Mbele pamoja. Forward together.