Each year on December 1st people across the globe unite to show their support for those living with HIV and AIDS, pay tribute to those who have died, and pledge their dedication to the fight against HIV. It is estimated that worldwide a staggering 33.3 million individuals have HIV, and to date more than 25 million lost their lives to AIDS.*
Today is also a day to further facilitate compassion, respect, understanding and acceptance for those impacted by HIV. Throughout the day and afterward, countless individuals will be raising funds to support organizations such as the National AIDS Trust - organizations that raise awareness and provide support to people living with HIV and AIDS.
For many of us, today is a vivid reminder that HIV and AIDS are as real as ever, and that despite the many advancements made with regards to research and treatment, lives are still being impacted and lost at an alarming rate.
Thirty years after the world first learned of AIDS there are still many people who are unaware as to how they can protect themselves and others from the disease, and the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS remains.
While each day that passes is an opportunity for us to increase our own awareness, today is the day in which we are all encouraged to take a closer look and learn more about HIV so that we might use our knowledge to prevent ourselves or someone we know from becoming a statistic. It also educates us about the stigma associated with the disease and the discrimination endured by those who have it.
The UNAIDS is a Joint United Nations program for AIDS and HIV that seeks to lead and inspire the world in achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. This year the UNAIDS has a number in sight – zero. Their vision: “Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.”
Today, while many will be adorned in their red ribbons, a "universal symbol of awareness and support", they will also be adorned with hope for their future and the future of those that will come after them acting as agents of change, honoring their commitment to help end HIV and AIDS. To learn more about World Aids Day visit www.unaids.org.
“The beginning of the end of AIDS is now in sight – we must get to Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination, Zero AIDS-related deaths. It is our shared vision and our shared responsibility, in memory of the millions who died of AIDS but also for future generations. “ – UN AIDS.org
Image via UNAIDS
*Statistics provided by WorldAidsDay.org