United Nations, in cooperation with world leaders, non-profit organizations and advocates across the globe, has marked December 1 as World AIDS day. Worldaidsday.org publishes all information events and campaign in support of this special day. The theme overall is to create not just awareness but also a sense of urgency across the world in controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS and to find a cure. The overall theme for 2015 was “The Time to act is now”.
In this light, a multitude of events and activities were held as part of World Aids Day. Events meant to honor those who died from AIDS, give hope to those who still face this battle and create both awareness and a new and different perspective of AIDS for the public.
The campaigns online like RETHINK HIV in social media carry out the theme of correcting the common misconceptions about AIDS and giving the online community a better perspective of what life is like for those who live with AIDS. There were simple messages and tweets shared and spread like
- “Kissing doesn’t spread HIV, ignorance does”
- “You are on effective HIV treatment, you are non-infectious (85% of all people who are diagnosed with HIV)”
- posted with #rethinkhiv and #worldaidsday hashtags.
To emphasize the quote about misconceptions of how HIV is spread, the National AIDS Trust also ran a Kissing Booth at Soho Square.
A red ribbon symbol was also used in social media campaigns, events and merchandise as a symbol of support for those who fight against AIDS. Worldaidsday.org also sells special red ribbon brooches to raise funds for the National Aids Trust and the site also shares the story of how red ribbon came about.
Awareness and fundraising events took its part of the day to make an impact, like the Awareness Stand at South Hampton Central Station, Hampshire, UK, and the display held in Berkshire entitled “Hope – A Display for World Aids Day”. Another one is the “Be HIV Aware” Fund Raising event held by the Health Library & Information Services Team supported by Yorkshire MESMAC held at the Library based at Field House.
In London, a fundraising event to support the Lighthouse HIV Clinic in Malawi Africa was also held as part of World Aids Day. This HIV clinic serves as a beacon of hope for HIV/AIDS patient given the poverty in Malawi and the scarcity of medical support in its rural areas.
In the U.S., President Obama shared his alignment to the United Nations goal of ending HIV and though he noted the progress in controlling, preventing and raising awareness in AIDS for the past decades he also outlined all that needs to be done in promoting and providing suppressive and preventive treatment whilst increasing awareness and social support for those who are living with AIDS.
Bono, the U2 band front man also spearheaded an all-star campaign to support his aids-fighting organization (RED). They also featured a chance to win a unique and once in a lifetime experience with celebrities for people who sent a $10 donation to this organization.
Educational Forums, Story-telling booths, candle light vigils and exhibits in the cities of Massachusetts, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago filled this day in supporting World AIDS day and the people who fight AIDS. Some of these events featured kissing booths, HIV/AIDS discussions and films, and free HIV testing on site.
Though World AIDS day has been a good opportunity to light up the hearts and minds of people around the globe to understand AIDS truly and fully, the battle only begins here. It also marks the beginning of a new phase with a stronger commitment to winning and to end the HIV / AIDS epidemic.