Cooperation for Development

December 1 – HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

In ANNOUNCEMENTS, ARTICLES, NEWS on 01/12/2010 at 11:13

Started on 1st December 1988, World AIDS Day is about raising money, increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. The World AIDS Day theme for 2010 is ‘Universal Access and Human Rights’. World AIDS Day is important for reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done.

According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.3 million people living with HIV, including 2.5 million children. During 2009 some 2.6 million people became newly infected with the virus and an estimated 1.8 million people died from AIDS.

The vast majority of people with HIV and AIDS live in lower- and middle-income countries. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world.

The protection of human rights is fundamental to combating the global HIV and AIDS epidemic. Violations against human rights fuel the spread of HIV, putting marginalised groups, such as injecting drug users and sex workers , at a higher risk of HIV infection. By promoting individual human rights, new infections can be prevented and people who have HIV can live free from discrimination.

World AIDS Day provides an opportunity for all of us – individuals, communities and political leaders – to take action and ensure that human rights are protected and global targets for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care are met.

The red ribbon is an international symbol of AIDS awareness that is worn by people all year round and particularly around World AIDS Day to demonstrate care and concern about HIV and AIDS, and to remind others of the need for their support and commitment.

The red ribbon started as a “grass roots” effort; as a result there is no one official AIDS ribbon manufacturer, and many people make their own. It’s easily done – just use some ordinary red ribbon and a safety pin!

If you want to take your awareness raising a step further then try finding a local event to take part in. Around the world there are hundreds of activities taking place to mark World AIDS Day, including candlelight vigils, art shows, marches and religious services. If you can’t find anything in your area then why not organise an event yourself?

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