World aids day is celebrated every year all over the world on the 1st of December to raise public awareness about AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome). AIDS is a pandemic disease caused due to the infection of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The day is celebrated by the government organizations, NGOs, civil society and other health officials by organizing the speeches or forums discussion related to AIDS.
The President of the United States declared an official announcement for World AIDS Day in the year 1995 which was started following by other countries all across the world. According to the rough estimation, around 25 million people died from 1981 to 2007 because of the HIV infection. Even after the access to antiretroviral treatment in many places, around 2 million people (at least 270,000 of total were children) in 2007 were infected with this epidemic disease.
World AIDS Day celebration has become the most recognized health days celebrations internationally. World AIDS Day celebration offers the key opportunity to the health organizations to increase the awareness among people, most possible access to the treatment as well as discussing the preventive measures.
World Aids Day 2019
The 31st annual World AIDS Day was celebrated on Sunday, 1st December 2019. The day is celebrated to raise global awareness about HIV/AIDS and let people express solidarity. This year the World AIDS Day was observed by the theme “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community”.
The Joint United Nations Program on AIDS/HIV (UNAIDS) had revealed statistics on the world AIDS epidemic. By the end of 2018, 37.9 million people were living with HIV, out of which 1.7 million people got infected the same year. There were an estimated 770,000 AIDS-related deaths in 2018.
France had reaffirmed its commitments to fight with the endemic and make the world AIDS-free by 2030 in accordance with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030. France has also pledged to spend 1.2 billion pounds in the fight against AIDS for the next three years.
On November 27, a couple of days before World AIDS Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) had released a consolidated guideline on HIV testing services for all the nations.
Lights in every prominent building in Los Angeles turned red on Sunday, 1st December to commemorate World AIDS Day.
People all over the world expressed their solidarity and sympathy towards the people who have lost their lives due to AIDS or are affected by the epidemic. The Twitter hashtag for World AIDS Day is #worldaidsday.
The 30th World AIDS Day was observed across the world under the theme ‘Know Your Status’. The celebrations of the 2018 World AIDS Day had two aims:
1) It urged people to know their infection status through testing and access to treatment and care services.
2) It urged the governments to promote a ‘Health for All’ agenda for HIV and other health services.
Shri Krishnaswamy College for Women, Chennai, and Indian Community Welfare Organization organized an event on World AIDS Day and took the oath and urged people to not discriminate people living with HIV and behave with them as normal human beings.
Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society organized an ‘AIDS Awareness Rally’ on 01st December to commemorate World AIDS Day. People and various political and social personalities including NGOs and students participated in the AIDS awareness event.
People around the world organized various campaigns and shown solidarity with the people living with HIV by wearing the red ribbon. Silicon Valley marked World AIDS Day by organizing various events and Candlelight vigil to remember people who lost their lives battling against this disease.
Apple Inc. raised $200 million selling the Red products, for promoting awareness of HIV. Apple has announced that $1 will be contributed to the RED Foundation (which Apple has partnered 12 years ago to raise awareness on AIDS) for each purchase of Apple products done on Apple Store, Apple’s website and Apple Store App.
World Aids Day History
World AIDS Day was first visualized by Thomas Netter and James W. Bunn in the month of August in 1987. Thomas Netter and James W. Bunn both are the public information officers for the AIDS Global Programme at the WHO (World Health Organization) in Geneva, Switzerland. They had shared their idea about the AIDS day to Dr. Jonathan Mann (Director of the AIDS Global Programme), who had approved the idea and recommended the World AIDS Day observance on the 1st of December in the year 1988.
World AIDS Day celebration was decided by them to be celebrated every year on the 1st of December accurately. They thought that it should be decided far from the election time, Christmas holidays or other holidays. It should be celebrated during times when people and news media could pay more interest and attention in broadcasting the news all across the world.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, also known as the UNAIDS, came into effect in the year 1996 and started promoting worldwide. Instead of being celebrated for only one day, the World AIDS Campaign was launched by the UNAIDS in the year 1997 to focus on AIDS programs, better communications, disease prevention and disease awareness learning for the whole year.
In the starting years, the World AIDS Day themes were focused only on the children as well as the young people, which were later recognized as a family disease as any person of any age group can be infected with HIV. Since 2007, the World Aids Day was started symbolizing by an iconic display of AIDS Ribbon by the White House.
Importance of Wearing Red Ribbons on World AIDS Day
People across the world wear Red Ribbons showing their solidarity with the people living with HIV infection. It acts as a symbol of awareness and support. People also sell red ribbons in order to raise funds to provide support to the people who are battling the disease.
It also acts as a tribute to the people who lost their lives fighting this disease. As per UNAIDS, “the red ribbon is a visual symbol to demonstrate compassion for people living with HIV and their caregiver”. Wearing a red ribbon is the best way to raise awareness about AIDS and convince people to not discriminate people living with HIV. The red ribbon can be freely used across the world to raise awareness as this is not a copyrighted image.
World Aids Day Theme
UNAIDS started organizing the World AIDS Day campaign to be celebrated with the particular annual themes for better global awareness about the disease. Following are the list of all the year wise themes of World Aids Day:
Following is the list of year wise themes of World AIDS Day:
> The theme of 2019 for the World Aids Day campaign is “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community”.
> The theme of 2018 for the World Aids Day campaign was “Know your status”.
> The theme of 2017 for the World Aids Day campaign was————–“My Health, My Right”.
> The theme of 2016 for the World Aids Day campaign was “Hands up for #HIVprevention”.
> The theme from the year 2011 to 2015 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths”.
> The theme of the year 2010 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Universal Access and Human Rights”.
> The theme of the year 2009 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Universal Access and Human Rights”.
> The theme of the year 2008 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise-Lead-Empower-Deliver”.
> The theme of the year 2007 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise- Leadership”.
> The theme of the year 2006 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise-Accountability”.
> The theme of the year 2005 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise”.
> The theme of the year 2004 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Women, Girls, HIV and AIDS”.
> The theme of the year 2003 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Stigma and Discrimination”.
> The theme of the year 2002 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Stigma and Discrimination”.
> The theme of the year 2001 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “I care. Do you”?
> The theme of the year 2000 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “AIDS: Men Make a Difference”.
> The theme of the year 1999 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Listen, Learn, Live: World AIDS Campaign with Children and Young People”.
> The theme of the year 1998 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Force for Change: World AIDS Campaign with Young People”.
> The theme of the year 1997 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Children Living in a World with AIDS”.
> The theme of the year 1996 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “One World and One Hope”.
> The theme of the year 1995 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Shared Rights, Shared Responsibilities”.
> The theme of the year 1994 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “AIDS and the Family”.
> The theme of the year 1993 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Act”.
> The theme of the year 1992 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Community Commitment”.
> The theme of the year 1991 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Sharing the Challenge”.
> The theme of the year 1990 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Women and AIDS”.
> The theme of the year 1989 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Youth”.
> The theme of the year 1988 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Communication”.
World Aids Day Activities
A variety of activities can be done on the day of the World Aids day celebration to increase awareness and distribute the message of the theme of particular year. It is very necessary to increase awareness among people as they are the main target of the program. Some of the activities are written below:
- Community-based individuals and organizations should be contacted to plan the World AIDS Day activities, to organize a planned meeting. It can be well started from the local clinics, hospitals, social service agencies, schools, AIDS advocacy groups and etc.
- A single event or sequence of independent events can be determined for better awareness by the speakers and exhibitors through the forums, rallies, health fairs, community events, faith services, parades, block parties and etc.
- A public statement can be submitted to the agency board identifying the recognition for the World AIDS Day.
- Red ribbons should be worn or distributed to others to mark the hope to the schools, work sites or community groups. Electronic ribbons can also be distributed to social media outlets.
- All the activities (like DVD showings and Aids prevention seminars) of businesses, schools, health care organizations, clergy, and local agencies should be encouraged for their great work.
- A candlelight vigil can be held at the public park or the nearest agency where singers, musicians, dancers, poets, storytellers and etc could distribute the message of Aids prevention through entertaining performances.
- World AIDS Day information can be distributed by linking it to the web site of your agency.
- All the planned events and activities should be already distributed through e-mail, newsletters, mailings or electronic bulletins.
- People can be aware by displaying the exhibitions, posters, videos, flyers, brochures for HIV/AIDS and etc.
- World AIDS Day activities can be informed to a large group of people instantly through blogs, Facebook, Twitter or through the other social media websites.
- Actively contribute to the other groups of celebrating World AIDS Day.
- A candlelight celebration can be held in the memory of the died persons due to HIV/AIDS.
- Religious leaders are encouraged to speak something for AIDS intolerance and dishonor.
- A service can be started to provide meals, shelter, transportation, companionship for people with HIV/AIDS. They can also be invited to social work, worship or other functions to increase their morality.
Objectives of World Aids Day
The purpose of the World Aids Day celebration every year to well support the Member States in order to build up new and effective policies and programs, to strengthen the health systems as well as to increase the capacity of health sectors towards HIV/AIDS. Some of the main objectives of the World Aids Day are listed below:
- To guide the member states for globally increasing the prevention and control measures for HIV/AIDS.
- To offer the member states a technical support for implementing the plan for prevention, care as well as treatment for HIV/AIDS including the testing, counseling of mother for transmitting the infection to the child, STI control and antiretroviral therapy.
- To aware people of antiretroviral medicines or other commodities that can help them to fight against HIV/AIDS.
- To involve the peer groups in the campaign for getting the most effective result.
- To encourage more students from the schools, universities and social structures to contribute to the competitions organized for AIDS.
- To decrease and control the number of patients infected by HIV/AIDS as well as to encourage the peer groups for condoms.
World Aids Day Slogans, Quotes, and Messages
“HIV/AIDS has no boundaries”.
“My play Safe Sex was picked apart because critics thought it was untrue. It was a play in which no one had AIDS, but the characters talked about how it was going to change their lives”.
“Small aids to individuals, large aid to masses”.
“AIDS is an absolutely tragic disease. The argument about AIDS’ being some kind of divine retribution is crap”.
“Give a child love, laughter and peace, not AIDS”.
“I know one man who was impotent who gave AIDS to his wife and the only thing they did was kiss”.
“If you judge people you have no time to love them”.
“Let us give publicity to H.I.V./AIDS and not hide it, because the only way to make it appear like a normal illness like TB, like cancer, is always to come out and say somebody has died because of H.I.V./AIDS, and people will stop regarding it as something extraordinary”.
“The AIDS is a disease that is hard to talk about”.
“I burned out on AIDS and did no AIDS work for a couple of years. I was so angry that people were still getting this disease that nobody can give you – you have to go out and get it”!
“My son has died of AIDS”.
“Because of the lack of education on AIDS, discrimination, fear, panic, and lies surrounded me”.
“You can’t get AIDS from a hug or a handshake or a meal with a friend”.
“This AIDS stuff is pretty scary. I hope I don’t get it”.
AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) caused by the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) which attacks the immune system of the human body. The disease was first recognized in the year 1981. It was first identified by the name of AIDS on 27th of July in the year 1982.
HIV infection can be easily transmitted from one person to the other if they have contacted ever directly through the mucous membrane, bodily fluid or blood. In the earlier period, there was a lot of social stigma for the people with HIV/AIDS. According to the estimate, it has been noted that around 33 million people have been infected with the HIV and 2 million people died because of it each year.
HIV is a virus which attacks the T-cells of the immune system and causes the disease known as AIDS. It is found in the human body fluids like blood, semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk of the infected person which can be passed to others by a direct contact like blood transfusion, oral sex, anal sex, vaginal sex or injecting contaminated needles. It can be passed to the baby by the pregnant women during delivery or through breastfeeding.
It was originated in the 19th and 20th century in the region of west-central Africa. Actually there is no any cure for it but the course of disease can be lessens down by some treatment.
Signs and Symptoms of HIV/AIDS
A person with HIV/AIDS has the following signs and symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Sweats during night
- Enlarged glands
- Weight loss
- Joint pain
- Muscle ache
- Red rashes
But, in many cases of this disease, the initial symptoms are disappeared for many years during which HIV virus cause damages to the immune system which is incurable. The infected person never feels any symptoms during this period and appears healthy.
But, in the late stage of HIV infection (when virus weakens the immune system to fight against it) the person develops illness with AIDS. Person with the late stage infection started showing following signs and symptoms:
- Blurred vision
- Permanent tiredness
- Fever (above 100f)
- Night sweats
- Diarrhea (persistent and chronic)
- Dry cough
- White spots on the tongue and mouth
- Swollen glands
- Weight loss
- Shortness of breath
- Esophagitis (inflammation of lower esophagus linings)
- Kaposi sarcoma, cancer of the cervix, lungs, rectum, liver, head, neck and the cancer of immune system (lymphomas).
- Meningitis, encephalitis and peripheral neuropathy
- Toxoplasmosis (infection of brain)
There are some myths which are spread in the society about the AID. Aids never spread through the handshake, hug, sneeze, unbroken skin touch or the use of same toilet.