World AIDS Day is held annually on December 1st. It began in 1988 and was the first ever global health day. World AIDS Day is a chance for people to unite in the fight against HIV by learning about the disease, ways to prevent it, and treatment opportunities. They can support those living with HIV and commemorate the many who have died.
HIV is transfered primarily through sexual contact. Pagans view sexuality as a gift or even a sacrament. It is one way to celebrate being alive and fully appreciate our bodies. This can be a very freeing experience when handled responsibly. Sex must always be consensual and between adults. Protection from sexually transmitted disease needs to be discussed between partners whether they are encounters in daily life, at a festival, convention, or sexual rite within sacred space.
In the United States, there is a dualistic approach to sex. Young girls are expected to remain innocent and yet in the media and pop culture women are too often objectified. These opposing views can cause so much confusion in minors and teens. Explaining sex to minors is entirely a topic on it’s own and in a perfect world would be discussed between parent or guardian and their child. For a wonderful commentary on Pagan Parenting read “A Pagan Parenting Astonishment: What? You promote teen abstinence?!” by Nouvelle Noir Goddess at the Daughters of Eve blog
We may see sexuality as sacred and magical but we must also remember that we are biological as well. A sacred circle or spell won’t save you from STDs. Make protected sex part of your practical magic.
There are many different Fast Facts (PDF documents) at the United Nations AIDS website about HIV such as the basics about the disease, prevention, testing and counseling, and treatment.