World AIDS Day is held every year on December 1. Since 1988, the day has presented an opportunity to commemorate those who have passed away from AIDS, raise funds for research, and spread awareness about the disease through digital marketing, social media, and other technologies designed to connect, engage, and educate the public.
To date, more than 35 million people have lost their lives to this disease, making it one of the deadliest pandemics of all time. Though modern medicine has taken many strides to treat and protect people living with HIV and AIDS, discrimination and stigma still surround both the virus and disease, making it difficult to properly educate people about preventative care and the disease. World AIDS Day brings these issues into the spotlight and shows that there is still a long way to go before the virus and disease are truly under control.
The first step to finding more effective treatments and ultimately a cure for AIDS is to understand the impact of the disease.
- 35.3 million people globally live with HIV.
- 95 percent of all HIV cases diagnosed in 2012 were in low- and middle-income nations.
- In 2012, there were 260,000 new HIV infections diagnosed in children.
- Some nations in Sub-Saharan Africa have as much as 28 percent of the population living with HIV.
- 1 in 20 bisexual or gay men in the U.K. have HIV, and of that number, 1 in 5 are undiagnosed.
How to Take Action
Want to know how to take part in World AIDS Day 2014? There are plenty of simple ways to bring attention to the disease in your everyday routines, including:
- Wearing a red ribbon, the universal symbol for HIV support and awareness
- Taking the online quiz created by the World AIDS Day organization that tests your knowledge on HIV and can also be shared on social media
- Raising money for the National AIDS Trust in whatever way you see fit. You can host a bake sale, set up a donation page, or even sell red ribbons. Whatever way you feel comfortable raising money and awareness for the cause will contribute to the larger global initiative.
Money raised during World AIDS Day goes toward educating others, building awareness, and building new technologies, including mobile and connected health solutions. Medical professionals are developing several connected health tools designed to monitor, prevent, educate, ensure medication adherence, and help fight AIDS globally.
One day doesn’t seem like much time, but World AIDS Day offers great potential. Consider what you’ll do this year to promote awareness about AIDS and HIV and show support for researchers and those suffering from the virus and disease. Remember that every contribution makes a difference. For more information, visit WorldAIDSDay.org.