Things to know about World Aids Day

When do people celebrate World Aids Day?

People observe December as World AIDS Day across the world. The day, as the name suggests, is to show support for people living with HIV and the ones who have lost their lives because of AIDS. 

History of World Aids Day

World AIDS Day was first conceived in August 1987 by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter. They were the two public information officers for the Global Programme on AIDS at the WHO in Geneva, Switzerland. Bunn and Netter took their idea to Dr. Jonathan Mann, Director of the Global Programme on AIDS (now known as UNADIS).

Mann liked the concept & approved it. He agreed with the recommendation that the first observance of World AIDS Day should be on 1 December 1988.

What happened in the first two years of the World Aids Day celebration?

In its first two years, the theme of World AIDS Day focused on children and young people. While the choice of this theme was criticized at the time by some for ignoring the fact that people of all ages may become infected with HIV, the theme helped alleviate some of the stigma surrounding the disease and boost recognition of the problem as a family disease.

What happened after 1996?

The (UNAIDS) became operational in 1996. It took over the planning and promotion of World AIDS Day. Rather than focus on a single day, UNAIDS created the World AIDS Campaign in 1997 to focus on year-round communications, prevention and education. In 2004, the World AIDS Campaign became an independent organization.

Each year, Benedict XVI & Popes John Paul ll and releases a greeting message for patients and doctors on this day.

In 2016, a collection of HIV and AIDS-related NGOs (including Panagea Global AIDS and The AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa) started a campaign to rename World AIDS Day to World HIV Day. They claim the change will emphasize social justice issues and the advancement of treatments.

How did the red ribbon come into being?

In the US, the White House began marking World AIDS Day with the iconic display of a 28 foot (8.5 m) AIDS Ribbon. It was displayed on the building’s North Portico in 2007. White House aide Steven M. Levine was serving in President George W. Bush’s administration. He proposed the display to symbolize the United States’ commitment to combat the world AIDS epidemic through its landmark PEPFAR program.

The White House display is now an annual tradition across four presidential administrations. It quickly garnered attention, as it was the banner, sign or symbol to prominently hang from the White House since the Lincoln administration.

Since 1993, the President of the United States has made an official announcement for World AIDS Day. On 30 November 2017, President Donald Trump proclaimed World AIDS Day for 1 December.

Themes for this day over the years as recounted on World Aids Day 2021

NumberYearTheme
11988Communication
21989Youth
31990Women and AIDS
41991Sharing the Challenge
51992Community Commitment
61993Time to Act
71994AIDS and the Family
81995Shared rights, Shared Responsibilities
91996One World. One Hope
101997Children living in a world with Aids
111998Force for Change: World AIDS Campaign with Young People
121999Listen, Learn, Live
132000AIDS: Men make a Difference
142001I Care. Do You?
152002Stigma and Discrimination
162003Stigma and Discrimination
172004Women, Girls, HIV and AIDS
182005Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise
192006Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise- Accountability
202007Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise- Leadership
212008Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise- Lead- Empower- Deliver
222009Universal Access and Human Rights
232010Universal Access and Human Rights
242011Getting to Zero
252012Together we will end ADIS
262013Zero Discrimination
272014Close the Gap
282015On the Fast Track to End AIDS
292016Hands up for #HIVprevention
302017My Health, My Right
312018Know your Status
322019Communities Make the Difference
332020Global Solidarity Shared Responsibility
342021End inequalities. End AIDS. End pandemic. (UN) Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice. (US)

Reasons for AIDS

It can be contracted through body fluids like blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, vaginal and rectal fluids, and breast milk of an infected woman.

Unprotected sex with a person who is infected can also pass on the deadly disease to another person.

Sharing injection needles, razor blades, knives among other things with an infected person can also be a reason for the contraction of the disease.

Symptoms of AIDS

Symptoms of AIDS just after it infected the body:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Rash
  • Night sweats
  • Muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Mouth ulcers

Symptoms of this disease late in the stage:

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Recurring fever or profuse night sweats
  • Extreme and unexplained tiredness
  • Prolonged swelling of the lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck
  • Diarrhea that lasts for more than a week
  • Sores of the mouth, anus, or genitals
  • Pneumonia
  • Red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids
  • Memory loss, depression, and other neurologic disorders

Treatment of this disease

The disease is not entirely curable but there are quite a few protective measures that one must adopt in their everyday life to prevent the contraction of the disease. The treatments include antiretroviral therapy (ART) and HIV medicines to reduce the risk of transmission.

The preventive measures against HIV AIDS include using protection during sexual intercourse, avoiding sharing needles, blades, etc with other people, and building good body immunity.

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