You’ve probably heard of HIV and AIDS, but do you know how they affect your community?
As of 2018, there were 4,691 people in Marion County, Indiana, who had been diagnosed with HIV. But this number doesn’t tell the whole story; it only represents people who know their HIV status. There are many more people in our city who are living with HIV and do not know it.
SIDE by SIDE was created in response to the HIV epidemic, but it is about more than HIV. SIDE by SIDE exists to educate and empower our entire community to live healthy, full lives. We believe that everyone can help make Indianapolis a healthier place, and that we all benefit from learning more about HIV.
Let’s take a look at what SIDE by SIDE is, and where you fit in!
What is SIDE by SIDE?
SIDE by SIDE is about HIV, but it’s also about empowering people to live beyond their HIV status. We want to reduce new transmissions of HIV in our community and help people living with HIV connect to medical care.
SIDE by SIDE is also invests in our community’s total health and wellness. We are here to help folks connect to mental health resources, food and housing support, and tools for building healthy relationships. When people have access to these resources, they can make the best choices for themselves, which includes choices around HIV.
Another way SIDE by SIDE supports the community is by providing honest, easy-to-understand information about HIV. HIV is a big topic, and there are lots of rumors and myths about how it is transmitted. SIDE by SIDE is here to give you the facts. Those facts will empower you to make better decisions about your health.
Finally, SIDE by SIDE exists to help people living with HIV live a full, healthy life. An HIV diagnosis doesn’t mean you can’t date, have sex, or enjoy life. SIDE by SIDE can connect you to the things you need to build the life you want.
Who is SIDE by SIDE for?
We all have a role to play in ending the HIV epidemic. SIDE by SIDE is here to help you find your role, and empower you to take action.
People Who Are Learning About HIV
Knowledge is power, and knowing more about HIV is the first step to finding your place in the fight against HIV. SIDE by SIDE is here to help you learn more about HIV is, how it is transmitted, and how to get tested. We’ve also got information on ways to prevent HIV, so you can make the best choice for your situation.
People Who Are Living with HIV
Living with HIV is about LIVING. One of the goals of SIDE by SIDE is to help people living with HIV get the support they need. That includes medical care, but it also includes resources for mental health care, eating right, and becoming your own advocate — just to name a few. We’re here to walk alongside you and connect you to the things you need to thrive.
People Supporting a Loved One Living with HIV
We all want to support the people we love. If you have a friend or family member with HIV, you might not know exactly how to stand alongside that person and support them well. SIDE by SIDE wants to make that easier. We’ve got information on avoiding stigma and knowledge you can share with others to help them understand what an HIV diagnosis means. We even have a glossary of important terms, so you can “learn the language” of HIV.
How Can I Get Involved?
There are many ways to get involved in ending the HIV epidemic, no matter who you are or where you’re from. Here are some easy actions you can take to improve the health of our community:
Learning more about how HIV is transmitted, how it’s prevented, and how it’s treated, is a powerful action. Knowing the facts helps you make informed decisions about your health and the health of your family. Our HIV 101 Guide is a great place to start.
Once you’ve learned more about HIV, you can share your knowledge with others! Talking about HIV with your friends and loved ones normalizes the topic and helps make others feel more comfortable with it. These conversations are also a great opportunity to challenge misconceptions and share the facts about HIV.
Knowing your HIV status is the first step to HIV prevention. If you don’t know your status, get tested as soon as you can. If you do know your status, commit to making yearly HIV testing part of your regular health routine. HIV testing is free and confidential, and you can connect to a local testing location here.
Work to End Stigma
Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about HIV that lead to stigma around HIV and the people who have it. One way to make a difference in your community is by learning to talk about HIV in a way that affirms the people who are living with it. Doing this shows your support for people living with HIV, and it also provides a model that others in your circle can follow.
Share SIDE by SIDE With Others
Sharing what you’ve learned and done with others is the best way to spread awareness and keep the conversation going. Let your friends and family know that SIDE by SIDE is here to help them learn more about HIV, and follow our social media channels to stay up-to-date. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!