Since the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in 1981, many people have viewed HIV/AIDS as a gay issue. This, of course, is not accurate, as HIV/AIDS can be found around the globe in both straight and gay people alike.

It is important for you to remember that being an ally and a friend to someone who is gay will not give you HIV/AIDS. Risky sexual practices and drug abuse can lead to contracting HIV/AIDS, no matter if you are straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. AIDS does not discriminate. The more you educate yourself about this virus, the less you will fear.

If someone you care about is HIV-positive or has AIDS, they need your love and support more than ever. There are many local and national organizations specifically designed to help friends and family of people living with HIV/AIDS.

For a list of national HIV/AIDS hotlines and resources, visit The Body.

Find out testing information and test locations at

To get involved in local HIV/AIDS related efforts and youth programs visit the National Association of People with AIDS.

Other helpful organizations include:

Campaign to End AIDS

Latino Commission on AIDS

Black AIDS Institute

Bienestar Human Services