World Aids Day 2021: Theme and everything you need to know about the annual HIV awareness campaign

This year, UNAIDS is highlighting the urgent need to end the inequalities that drive Aid and other pandemics

Sarah Young
Wednesday 01 December 2021 09:47
Comments

World Aids Day falls on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.

This is particularly important in 2021 when people have struggled more than ever to reach support groups, and outreach in the community because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The date for World Aids Day has been observed by UN member states every year since 1988 in a show of support for those currently living with the condition.

The virus was only identified in 1984, when it sparked a huge international scare and was wrongly assumed to only affect members of the LGBT+ community, but has already killed 35m people and infected 78m around the globe.

An Indian NGO volunteer lights candles placed on the ground in the shape of a red ribbon during an awareness rally 

In the UK, approximately 101,000 people currently suffer from HIV out of an estimated 36.9m worldwide, with 5,000 new cases diagnosed in Britain annually.

However, not everybody is equipped with the facts on how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a life-changing reality for people living with HIV.

According to the National Aids Trust (NAT) one in five people living with HIV say that they have needed help with loneliness. Meanwhile, three-quarters of people living with HIV who report loneliness and isolation say they haven’t been able to find that help.

As such, the organisation is calling for peer support services to be made available across the UK so that people can access the help they need, when they need it, and wherever they are.

World Aids Day was first conceived of in August 1987 by World Health Organisation (WHO) publicists James W Bunn and Thomas Netter, but has been run by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) since 1996.

The Pope, the president of the United States and other world leaders all use the occasion to reaffirm their commitment to eradicating the disease, a goal the UN hopes to achieve by 2030.

The White House has proudly displayed a 28-foot red ribbon from its North Portico since 2007, stressing the Oval Office’s commitment to combating Aids in the wake of George W Bush introducing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), providing support for those afflicted around the world.

Every year UNAIDS, the WHO and a collection of grassroots NGOs agree on the theme for the day, drawing attention to different aspects of the condition.

This World Aids Day, UNAIDS is highlighting the urgent need to end the inequalities that drive AIDS and other pandemics around the world.

You can buy red ribbons from NAT's online shop, request free red ribbons with a display and collection box if you’re planning to fundraise for NAT in the UK, and use posters and images for your social media.

Those wishing to show support for the cause in the UK on World Aids Day can also make a donation to the National Aids Trust online.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in