AIDS Awareness

According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 39.5 million people living with HIV, including 2.3 million children, and during 2006 some 4.3 million people became newly infected with the virus. Around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35.

Around 95% of people with HIV/AIDS live in developing nations. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world.

Started in 1988, World AIDS Day is not just about raising money, but also about increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. World AIDS Day is important in reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done.

Some History:

The theme for World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day was originally organised by UNAIDS, who chose the theme after consultation with other organisations. However, in 2005 UNAIDS handed over responsibility for World AIDS Day to an independent organisation known as The World AIDS Campaign (WAC).

The WAC’s slogan for their work is "Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise", which is an appeal to governments, policy makers and regional health authorities to ensure that they meet the many targets that have been set in the fight against HIV and AIDS. This campaign will run until 2010, with a related theme chosen for World AIDS Day each year.

This year’s theme, "accountability", is designed to inspire citizens across the globe to hold their political leaders accountable for the promises they have made on AIDS. Targets such as the All by 2010 pledge made by world leaders last year, and the Millennium Development Goal to halt and reverse the spread of AIDS by 2015, are in serious danger of being sidelined or ignored, and much more needs to be done to ensure that these critical promises are kept. By supporting a broad movement of civil society organisations in their campaigning around this theme, the World AIDS Campaign hope to develop a sense of joint identity and common purpose and ensure that more people are made aware of the AIDS epidemic this year than ever before.

AVERT is raising awareness of this year’s "accountability" theme by turning the borders and menus on our site black. To find out more about this campaign, please visit our Why Black? page or read our World AIDS Day press release.

World AIDS Day themes over the years have included:

  • 2006 – Stop AIDS; Keep the Promise – Accountability
  • 2005 – Stop AIDS; Keep the Promise
  • 2004 – Women, Girls, HIV and AIDS
  • 2003 – Stigma & Discrimination
  • 2002 – Stigma & Discrimination
  • 2001 – I care. Do you?
  • 2000 – AIDS : Men make a difference
  • 1999 – Listen, Learn, Live: World AIDS Campaign with Children & Young People
  • 1998 – Force for Change: World AIDS Campaign With Young People
  • 1997 – Children Living in a World with AIDS
  • 1996 – One World, One Hope
  • 1995 – Shared Rights, Shared Responsibilities
  • 1994 – AIDS & the Family
  • 1993 – Act
  • 1992 – Community Commitment
  • 1991 – Sharing the Challenge
  • 1990 – Women & AIDS
  • 1989 – Youth
  • 1988 – Communication

To learn more about what is happening around the world, or to list any events that you may be holding locally this World AIDS Day, please visit the WAC’s events calendar.

The red ribbon

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, and as a result there is no one official red ribbon manufacturer, and many people make their own. It’s easily done – just use some ordinary red ribbon and a safety pin!


What can You do to support World AIDS Day?

There are many ways in which you can support World AIDS Day. For example:

  • Raise awareness of HIV and AIDS in your area
  • Wear a red ribbon and ask others to do the same
  • Protect yourself and your partners – this is the first and best way to stop the spread of HIV
  • If you are worried – get tested.

At school or work, you can support World AIDS Day by:

  • Having a dressing up, down or fancy dress day
  • Putting up some posters – get people talking
  • Making and selling red ribbons
  • Organising a creative writing/poster campaign
  • Setting up a debate or a quiz – there’re lots of ideas for topics on our site
  • Cooking an international meal or having a cake sale
  • Arranging a sponsored three-legged race or balloon release
  • Getting your friends, family, colleagues or pupils to express their feelings and expand their knowledge about AIDS
  • Using your imagination!

So………………..Take Action Today

Around forty million people are living with HIV throughout the world – and that number increases in every region every day. In the UK alone, more than 60,000 people are living with HIV and more than 7,000 more are diagnosed every year. Ignorance and prejudice are fuelling the spread of a preventable disease.

World AIDS Day, 1 December is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS. This year, it’s up to you, me and us to stop the spread of HIV and end prejudice.

Confidom – India’s first female con-dom. Any ideas?
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