World AIDS Day is observed annually on December 1st, and has been since it became the first global health day, in 1988. This day is used to unify people in the fight against HIV and to mourn those who have been lost due to the illness. The pandemic of HIV is prevalent all over the world, as there are approximately 34 million people currently living with the virus. In addition, the virus has taken the lives of more than 35 million people since its being first identifiable in 1984. Community organizations, government and health officials, and individuals all over the world observe the day and commit to educating people on methods of treatment and overall prevention.
Each World AIDS Day is focused around a specific theme, which are all chosen after consultations with numerous organizations associated with the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. This year’s campaign is entitled “Not Retro, Just Wrong”, focused on helping to end the stigma of HIV diagnosis and put it in the past, where it beings. The stigmas associated with with HIV often come from opinions and assumptions derived from 2 and 3 decades ago, during a time where much of the virus was unknown. However, HIV is no longer a death sentence, but now a virus that if properly treated, can effectively be lived with.
For millions of people, HIV is a daily fight that is reliant on not just medication, but support, empathy, and understanding by those not living with the virus/disease. To take a stand against HIV, engage in social media initiatives that help end the stigmas often associated with the virus/disease. You can do this by posting a funny retro picture of you or anyone close to you on social media with the hashtag #HIVNOTRETRO, showing that some styles reappear themselves over time, but the HIV stigmas do not need to be one of them. Other ways to get involved can be by sharing #HIVNOTRETRO campaign at your school, university, or workplace, or by encouraging people to wear retro clothing. Another way to get involved is simply by having honest conversations with the people around you, based on the stigmas associated with HIV, as many stigmas are due to lack of knowledge and misperception. For anyone interested in holding a World AIDS Day event, please visit the World AIDS Day site, as the simultaneous raising of awareness and fundraising is encouraged.
Below we have put together a number of charities to assist anyone interested in donating to a cause benefitting HIV/AIDS. Please be sure to visit the charity’s profile to analyze their accountability, transparency, and financial standing. Use World AIDS Day to help make a difference, by encouraging those around you to get tested, have conversations about the importance of safe sex, and remember to wear a red ribbon on World AIDS Day, as the ribbon is a globally recognized symbol that shows support to the millions of people currently living with HIV/AIDS.