Taking Control: Empowering Yourself With Knowledge & Action For HIV Prevention

June 28, 2024

Navigating The Current State Of HIV

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remains a global health problem, affecting millions of people across the globe. Various strategies have been implemented to address the epidemic, with some degree of success. However, there are still significant barriers that need to be overcome, with some people at more risk than others. As such, the latest ending the HIV epidemic (EHE) initiative focuses on 4 key strategies. These tenets include early detection, rapid and effective treatment, prevention of new HIV transmissions, and quick response to potential HIV outbreaks. These strategies would be futile without the active participation and empowerment of the public. Therefore, everyone, especially those at risk, must be knowledgeable about HIV and take action to prevent the spread of the disease.

Let’s get informed and empowered

Everyone has a role to play in managing the HIV epidemic and preventing further spread. The first step is self-education. Learn about HIV, transmission risks, prevention methods, and available treatments. The information can arm individuals with the necessary information and confidence to make wise decisions. With such knowledge, at-risk persons can help dispel myths and misconceptions and fight the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV. With self-education, individuals can turn into advocates, opening up conversations about HIV. This can promote awareness and positive attitudes towards HIV prevention and treatment.

Action speaks louder than words

More than learning and educating others, putting that knowledge into action is equally important. Adopting safe sex practices by using condoms or dental dams is one of the easiest yet effective ways to prevent HIV transmission. Some people may also practice abstinence or mutual monogamy to lessen the risk of acquiring or spreading the disease. Another strategy that individuals can take is pre-exposure prophylaxis (PReP), which is a daily medication that can help prevent HIV infection among high-risk individuals. When taken effectively, the drug can reduce the risk of getting HIV from sex by 99%.

The test we all want to take

Additionally, getting tested regularly and encouraging others, especially one’s sexual partner, to do the same can help identify HIV infections early. Early detection also prevents transmission to other sexual partners. This is only achievable through regular testing either at home or at a clinic. Testing also enables individuals to promptly start treatment if necessary, thus improving health outcomes. Moreover, this proactive approach empowers individuals to take control of their health and make informed decisions about their sexual activity. Doctors recommend testing at least once yearly and more frequently for at-risk individuals or groups.

Advocate for change

While major progress has been made in the fight against HIV, there are still barriers and challenges that need to be addressed. One of the key strategies for addressing such challenges is to advocate for change. This includes advocating for comprehensive and accessible HIV prevention and treatment services, promoting policies that protect the rights of individuals living with HIV, and pushing for education programs that incorporate accurate and inclusive information about HIV.

Take control

There can be no relaxation in the fight against HIV. Everyone needs to take ownership and feel empowered with knowledge and testing. Individuals need to take control of their own sexual health by staying informed, practicing safe behaviors, and seeking necessary testing and treatment. Doing these can help keep individuals and communities safer from HIV infections, and ultimately contribute to the global efforts to manage the HIV epidemic.


“Since becoming a patient with HSNT, I feel seen, cared for, and more informed than I’ve ever been.”  –  Jordan Grahmann

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