World AIDS Day
World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. AIDS has killed more than 25 million people with an estimated 33.2 million people living with HIV, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history. Despite recent, improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 3.1 million (between 2.8 and 3.6 million) lives in 2005, of which more than half a million (570,000) were children.
The concept of a World AIDS Day originated at the 1988 World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS Prevention. Since then, it has been taken up by governments, international organizations and charities around the world.
From its inception until 2004, UNAIDS spearheaded the World AIDS Day campaign, choosing annual themes in consultation with other global health organizations. In 2005 this responsibility was turned over to World AIDS Campaign (WAC), who chose Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise as the main theme for World AIDS Day observances through 2010, with more specific sub-taglines chosen annually. This theme is not specific to World AIDS Day, but is used year-round in WAC's efforts to highlight HIV/AIDS awareness within the context of other major global events including the G8 Summit. World AIDS Campaign also conducts “in-country” campaigns throughout the world, like the Student Stop AIDS Campaign, an infection-awareness campaign targeting young people throughout the UK.
It is common to hold memorials to honor persons who have died from HIV/AIDS on this day. Government and health officials also observe, often with speeches or forums on the AIDS topics. Since 1995 the President of the United States has made an official proclamation on World AIDS Day. Governments of other nations have followed suit and issued similar announcements.
The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) is the oldest national AIDS organization, as well as the first network of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world. We believe in making a difference in the lives of our constituents.
One of the outcomes of the AIDS epidemic in the United States was the Names Project Foundation. The AIDS Memorial Quilt is a community based effort across the world.
Founded in 1987, The AIDS Memorial Quilt is a poignant memorial, a powerful tool for use in preventing new HIV infections, and the largest ongoing community arts project in the world.
Each "block" (or section) of The AIDS Memorial Quilt measures approximately twelve feet square, and a typical block consists of eight individual three foot by six foot panels sewn together. Virtually every one of the more than 40,000 colorful panels that make up the Quilt memorializes the life of a person lost to AIDS.
As the epidemic continues claiming lives around the world and here in the United States, the Quilt continues to grow and to reach more communities with its messages of remembrance, awareness and hope.