According to a New York Times report published on Nov. 30, an annual global event is hours away. Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day (WAD), also known as World AIDS Awareness Day. WAD was created by the United Nations World Health Organization in 1988 in an effort to raise awareness about the global epidemic of HIV/AIDS. The event not only raises awareness about prevention and treatment of the disease, but also helps reduce the stigma and discrimination against those living with HIV/AIDS. The annual event also commemorates those who have died. WAD was actually the very first global health day.
While once considered a death sentence, advancements in treatments and significant gains have been made over the years allowing people to live longer and have a better quality of life. But the fact remains, HIV/AIDS continues to be a serious public health challenge around the globe. It is estimated that nearly 35 million people were living with HIV/AIDS in 2013. Over 3 million of those were children. 19 million of those folks do not know they have the virus.
Each year, all sorts of information and educational events are held on World AIDS Day. Candlelight vigils, concerts, marches, bake sales and other activities take place around the globe. People can also show their support by wearing a red ribbon, one of the world’s most recognized symbols. With a different theme every year, this year’s theme is “The Time to Act is Now.”