World AIDS Day takes place on the 1st December each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.
WHY IS WORLD AIDS DAY IMPORTANT?
Over 101,000 people are living with HIV in the UK. Globally, there are an estimated 36.7 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
Advances in medicine mean that people on effective HIV treatment cannot pass the virus on, but late diagnoses remain high and worryingly, only 45% of people can identify all the ways in which HIV is transmitted.
Stigma and discrimination can be a daily issue for people living with HIV. A recent stigma survey showed that 13 per cent report avoiding visiting the GP because they feared being treated differently and 21 per cent of gay men living with HIV report they have been discriminated against in work.
Troublingly 18 per cent of those surveyed report they’d had suicidal thoughts in the past year.
We’ve come a long way – but there’s still much work to do! Join us to raise vital funds so we can continue to fight discrimination, raise awareness and improve the lives of people living with HIV.
Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. Despite this, each year in the UK around 5,000 people are diagnosed with HIV, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition.
World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.
WHAT SHOULD I DO ON WORLD AIDS DAY?
World AIDS Day is an opportunity to show solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV worldwide. Most people do this by wearing an HIV awareness red ribbon on the day. You can order a red ribbon through our online shop, or pick one up in a MAC Cosmetics shop and selected branches of Morrisons.
You can also order a free pack of 100 ribbons to fundraise for the National AIDS Trust. World AIDS Day is a great opportunity to raise money for NAT, which will help to champion the rights of people living with HIV in the UK.