Each year December 01 is observed as World AIDS Day. This day is an opportunity to show support to all those infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV. It is also dedicated to those who have lost their lives to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS. Individuals and organizations worldwide have been trying to bring attention to the HIV epidemic and increase awareness and knowledge.
World AIDS Day was first observed in 1988. In 1987, two officers for the Global Program on AIDS at the WHO (World Health Organization), James Bunn and Thomas Netter, first came up with this idea.
They aimed to increase international awareness about this global health issue and to educate people on the virus. They proposed the idea to the Director of the Global Program on AIDS, Dr. Jonathan Mann. He supported the idea and approved the recommendation of observing the first World AIDS Day on December 01, 1988.
Importance of World AIDS Day
According to UNAIDS, there were approximately 38 million people across the globe with HIV/AIDS in 2019. Of these, 36.2 million were adults, and 1.8 million were children (Content Source: HIV.gov Date last updated: July 07, 2020).
HIV continues to be one of the biggest and most serious global public health challenges. Observing World AIDS Day is important as it helps to educate people about the virus and teaches them how to protect themselves against it.
It also helps erase the stigma surrounding AIDS and outlines what concrete steps we must be taking to fight this. World AIDS Day reminds us that even though significant scientific advances are being made to tackle and prevent AIDS, the number of people infected with HIV has not reduced much.
How to Observe World AIDS Day
By Wearing a Red Ribbon
The red ribbon is one of the most widely recognized ways of showing your support on World AIDS day. The color red is a symbol of the pain that this disease causes. It is also a way to symbolize compassion and tolerance toward those affected by this disease and spread awareness.
Consider Donating to an AIDS Charity
There are many national and international nonprofit organizations working tirelessly to fight this disease. They are working tirelessly to tackle problems associated with the spread of the disease and do a lot of good work in this direction. You could do some research or check online to find an organization you would like to support by donating.
Attending a Candlelight Vigil
Many cities worldwide hold candlelight vigils in honor of those who lost the battle to HIV and AIDS. You could find a vigil close to you and attend it to show your support to the cause. You could also create awareness on social media by sharing your experience. It is a great way to gather help from family, friends, and others, you know.
Some health centers may offer free HIV testing on this day. You could get yourself tested and encourage your family and friends to get themselves tested. It is a proactive way to dismantle the stigma around HIV and AIDS.
Testing is also a primary way of ending the spread of HIV. Only those who know their HIV status will take the necessary measures to protect themselves and their partners.
All of the World AIDS Day campaigns focus on a particular theme. The theme is chosen by consulting UNAIDS, WHO, and many national and international agencies to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS. The theme is not limited to one day, but it is used in international efforts for HIV and AIDS awareness. The theme of World AIDS Day in 2020 is “Global solidarity, shared responsibility.”
Ever since the first reported cases of AIDS in 1981, it continues to be an essential issue for all of us. Even though there have been significant improvements in treatment, the AIDS epidemic is still a battle; we need to fight and win.
Content Source: HIV.gov Date last updated: July 07, 2020. (2020, November 11). Global Statistics. Retrieved November 13, 2020, from https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/data-and-trends/global-statistics