World AIDS Day — 1st December, 2022
Since 1988, the globe has observed World AIDS Day on December 1st. Persons all over the world get together to demonstrate their support for those who live with HIV and to memorialize individuals who have died as a result of AIDS-related illnesses.
HIV/AIDS remains a major public health concern, affecting over 2 million people in the WHO European Region. AIDS has killed around 40.1 million people globally since the start of the epidemic, with an estimated 38.4 million people living with HIV, leaving it one of the most serious global public health concerns in recorded history.
Why is World AIDS Day named so?
As previously said, AIDS is the most serious health issue in human history. The virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In 1981, the first cases of AIDS were reported. Much progress has been made in addressing the AIDS epidemic since then, particularly in the last few decades. Despite the fact that there is no treatment, tremendous progress has been made. The amount of new infections has dropped. Nonetheless, World AIDS Day is as relevant now as it has ever been, reminding people and governments that HIV has not gone away. There is still a significant need to enhance funds for the AIDS fight, improve understanding of the effects of HIV on people’s lives, eliminate stigma and discrimination, and make life better for those living with HIV.
When is World AIDS Day 2022?
World AIDS Day is observed on December 1 and was founded by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1988 to promote information sharing between local and national authorities, international organizations, and regular citizens. This day allows people all around the world to unite in the fight against the disease, offer support to those who are afflicted, and remember those who have passed away as a result of it. World AIDS Day also recognizes the accomplishments and global efforts to combat AIDS and calls for increased efforts to end the HIV epidemic.
What is the theme of World AIDS Day 2022?
Every World AIDS Day has a different theme, which this year, in 2022, is “Equalize”.
WHO is urging world leaders and citizens to identify and address the inequalities that inhibit progress in the fight against AIDS, as well as to equalize access to essential HIV services, particularly for key populations such as men who have sex with men, transgender people, drug users, sex workers, prisoners, migrants, and their partners.
“Equalize” is a rallying cry for us to take action. It is a call to action for all of us to focus on the proven practical actions required to eliminate disparities and aid in the eradication of AIDS. For instance, enhancing the quantity, quality, and suitability of testing, treatment, and prevention. Reforming policies and regulations to eliminate stigma towards HIV-positive persons. Furthermore, there is a need to ensure fair access to the finest scientific knowledge on HIV around the world – through technology and media.
History of World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day was the very first global health day, established in 1988. The idea for World AIDS Day arose from a media gap between the 1988 presidential elections in the United States and Christmas. Broadcast journalist James Bunn, who had recently joined the World Health Organization, anticipated that after a year of political campaigns, the public would be drawn to AIDS coverage on television. Bunn and his colleague Thomas Netter determined that December 1 was the best date for the observance because it followed US elections but precedes the Christmas vacation. Both James Bunn and Thomas Netter worked as public information officers for the Global AIDS Program. The concept was authorized by the organization’s head, Dr. Jonathan Mann.
The topic of the first World AIDS Day was children and youth, in order to raise awareness among the target age group about the effect of AIDS on their lives and families. It was also revealed that AIDS did not only affect typically stigmatized populations such as drug users. The United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS UNAIDS took over the commemoration of World AIDS Day in 1996, expanding the campaign to an annual education and prevention campaign. In 2004, the World AIDS Campaign was established as a non-profit organization in the Netherlands.
What is HIV/AIDS?
AIDS is an acronym for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. The human immunodeficiency virus evolved from viruses seen in chimps and monkeys. It all starts when someone gets HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). This is a virus that affects and disables the immune systems of the body. HIV symptoms may not appear for years, and it is conceivable to be infected for a decade and feel perfectly healthy – transmission of the illness is still feasible throughout this time. If the virus destroys enough of a person’s defenses, AIDS develops and, finally, death occurs. The body becomes too weak to defend itself against any ailment.
Since its inception in the early 1980s, HIV/AIDS has killed over 40.1 million people. The sickness is ruining families, communities, and economies in many places around the world. Having intercourse without a condom and exchanging infected syringes are the most prevalent ways to contract AIDS. The greatest way to avoid it is to continue your education.
The importance of World AIDS Day
Some criticized World AIDS Day in its early years for focusing on children and young people, but activists hoped to remove some of the stigma that surrounds the disease as predominantly affecting homosexual men, increasing acknowledgment of it as a family disease. HIV/AIDS is the main cause of death among women of reproductive age worldwide, with women accounting for 43% of the 1.8 million new HIV infections in 2016.
Since 2012, the multi-year World AIDS Day theme has been targeting zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero discrimination. In 2016, new infections were 44% higher among young women aged 15 to 24 than among men in the same age group. It shows that in the public perception, the high-profile AIDS-related deaths of male celebrities such as Freddie Mercury, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Rock Hudson have continued to eclipse facts of new infection rates among women. World AIDS Day aims to dispel these myths and safeguard everyone.
According to research, stigma linked with sex work and LGBT communities is a significant element in unequal access to good treatment around the world. International AIDS support began to decline for the first time in 2015, while less than half of HIV/AIDS patients worldwide have access to anti-retroviral medication. It has never been more necessary to raise attention to treatment disparities in order to permanently end its spread.
How to celebrate World AIDS Day?
The disease and the issues related to its spread are being fought by a range of national and international non-profit organizations. Look up organizations online and decide if you want to support a global organization or perhaps one that focuses on sub-Saharan Africa, where adult HIV prevalence has reached 1 in 20 and 1.2 million people die of HIV/AIDS every year.
You can also have your blood tested. And, more often than not, for free and anonymously. For a few days around December 1st, many of the country’s larger cities will have health kiosks where people may get tested anonymously and for free. You can also easily obtain information about AIDS/HIV from health personnel here.
Around the world, activities are often placed on World AIDS Day. These efforts are led not only by government agencies, but also by communities. People are able to get a sense of the kaleidoscope of actions going place and be inspired by the determination and hope through images and videos shared by groups on social media and gathered by UNAIDS.
The red ribbon has become the international emblem of HIV awareness and support.
The Visual AIDS Artists Caucus introduced the sign in 1991. Individuals in this group wanted to remain anonymous, preserve the image copyright free, and establish a symbol to encourage HIV and AIDS awareness. The red ribbon was designed to be worn as a badge, but it is currently used in a variety of ways. Wearing a ribbon is an excellent way to promote awareness on and around World AIDS Day.
The White House commemorates World AIDS Day with a 28-foot red ribbon draped across the North Portico. The ribbon represents the United States’ commitment to combating the global AIDS epidemic through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Global HIV & AIDS statistics — Short fact sheet
- 38.4 million people globally were living with HIV in 2021
- 84.2 million people have become infected with HIV since the start of the epidemic
- In 2021, there were 38.4 million people living with HIV. 36.7 million of them are 15 years or older) and 1.7 million contains children (0–14 years)
- Every week, around 4900 young women aged 15–24 years become infected with HIV
- Young women are twice as likely to acquire HIV as young men
- UNAIDS estimates that US$ 29 billion (in constant 2019 United States dollars) will be required for the AIDS response in low- and middle-income countries, including countries formerly considered to be upper-income countries, in 2025 to get on track to end AIDS as a global public health threat
- The risk of acquiring HIV is:
- 35 times higher among people who inject drugs than adults who do not inject drugs
- 30 times higher for female sex workers than adult women
- 28 times higher among gay men and other men who have sex with men than adult men
- 14 times higher for transgender women than adult women
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