World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.
Around 34 million people are currently living with HIV globally. More than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 have died from the virus, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
Today, many scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment. There are laws to protect people living with HIV and so much more is now understood about the condition. Despite this, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV. World AIDS Day is important as it reminds the public and the government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.
World AIDS Day is an opportunity to learn the facts about HIV and put that knowledge into action. This knowledge can be used to take care of your own health and the health of others, and ensure that everyone living with HIV is treated fairly, and with respect and understanding.
Also, people can show support for people living with HIV on World AIDS Day by wearing a red ribbon, the international symbol of HIV awareness and support.
World AIDS Day is also a great opportunity to raise money for nonprofit HIV support groups, as well as show support for people living with HIV.
Although World AIDS Day is a great opportunity to get the public talking about HIV and fundraise, people should remember the importance of raising awareness of HIV all year round.
^learn the facts (www.worldaidsday.org)
^knowledge into action (www.worldaidsday.org)
^red ribbon (www.worldaidsday.org)