What is World AIDS Day?

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.

Why is World AIDS Day important?

Around 100,000 are currently living with HIV in the UK and globally an estimated 34 million people have HIV. More than 35 million people 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 we understand so much more about the condition. But 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 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 for you to learn the facts about HIV and put your knowledge into action. Find out how much you know by taking our online quiz: Are you HIV aware? Test your knowledge and awareness by taking the quiz and act aware by passing the quiz on and sharing it with your friends on Twitter and Facebook.

If you understand how HIV is transmitted, how it can be prevented, and the reality of living with HIV today – you can use this knowledge to take care of your own health and the health of others, and ensure you treat everyone living with HIV fairly, and with respect and understanding. Click here to find out the facts.

You can also show your 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 NAT (National AIDS Trust) and show your support for people living with HIV. If you feel inspired to hold an event, bake sale or simply sell red ribbons, click here to get started. If you’d like to see what other events are taking place — click here and find out more.

But what about after World AIDS Day?

Although World AIDS Day is a great opportunity to get the public talking about HIV and fundraise, we need to remember the importance of raising awareness of HIV all year round. That’s why NAT has launched HIVaware — a fun, interactive website which provides all the information everyone should know about HIV. Why not use what you have learnt on World AIDS Day to Act Aware throughout the year and remember, you can fundraise at any time of year too — NAT is always here to give you suggestions and ideas.


The Scarlet Letter “A”

Most of us know someone who is either infected with HIV or someone who has passed from an AIDS related cause. Currently there are a little over 1 million people in this country living with HIV and tens of thousands of deaths every year. HIV is preventable but not curable (that’s debatable, but that’s a conversation for another day). Unlike 20-30 years ago, everyone now knows how to avoid contracting HIV. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised towards AIDS awareness and to develop a cure. Activists like Sheryl Lee Ralph throw benefit concerts every year (Diva’s Simply Singing!) and celebrities such as Elton John & Alicia Keys are everywhere lending their talents and their voice to the cause. There are AIDS walks in mostly every major city and July has even been designated as National HIV Awareness month. Not to mention the AIDS quilt that was created as a memorial to those who have died an AIDS-related death and the infamous red ribbon which is supposed to promote awareness of HIV/AIDS. With all of this publicity it’s hard for me to understand why there’s still such a stigma associated with having AIDS.

Now, get ready for what I’m about to say: I didn’t say all of this to say that I’m an AIDS advocate. I bring this up because I am at a lost as to why anyone would be ashamed to admit that they have HIV or AIDS. I find it odd that it’s only following a person’s death, family members will proudly announce their loved ones HIV status. I understand that people should be allowed to disclose their own HIV status, but in order to support this disease it’s important to know who has it & who doesn’t.

I know that there are still some very ignorant people out there that will discriminate based on HIV/AIDS status and some who just don’t understand the disease. But if you are proud enough to wear the ribbon, raise money for a cure or petition for health legislation then you should be proud enough to admit that you are carrying HIV or have full blown AIDS. Why be so shy about something that affects you personally? Why aren’t your friends & family members able to have an open discussion about your status with other people? Why is it so embarrassing to admit that you have AIDS when you’re living but it is okay to publicize names of people with AIDS on a quilt once their dead?

Don’t get it twisted; I am certainly not anti-AIDS even though I support other causes. But as an African American woman & who knows that African Americans are disproportionately affected (African American men in particular) I believe that I have the right to know if the man I’m dealing with is carrying AIDS. And since we can’t trust that everyone will be forthright if they are HIV positive, I’m all about that Scarlet letter “A”.


Talk to me; let me know your thoughts….


*For more information on AIDS awareness, visit: Black AIDS, AIDS or the CDC.