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World AIDS Day Observances Around the Globe

Raising Awareness of an Epidemic of Epic Proportions

Every year on the 1st of December, government organizations, health officials, NGOs, and people all over the world observe World Aids Day by raising awareness of AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). AIDS is a pandemic disease caused by an infection called HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). According to data supplied by UNAIDS, around 770,000 people around the world died of AIDS-related illnesses during 2018. It is estimated that 37.9 million people across the globe are infected with HIV.

World AIDS Day 2013: Getting to Zero

Brief History

Originally founded by the UN in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first-ever global health day. In 1995, the president of the United States declared that World AIDS Day would be officially recognized, after which several other countries across the world began observing it. Over the years, the day has become one of the most recognized global health days, and several major events have been arranged.

In 2018, the theme was Know Your Status, and the celebrations had two main goals: to urge people to know their infection status by getting tested and to compel governments to advocate a Health for All agenda for HIV as well as other health services. This year, it will be the 30th World AIDS Day and it will be observed across the world with the theme Communities Make the Difference.

A Week of Observance

During the week of World AIDS Day, various activities take place to increase awareness of AIDS and to share the message of the year’s theme. These include:

  • Local communities and organizations getting together to arrange activities that may take place at hospitals, clinics, schools, AIDS advocacy groups, or social service agencies.
  • Single events or a series of events are arranged and may include health fairs, community events, rallies, parades, faith services, and block parties. Events are generally determined by speakers or exhibitors based on what would create more awareness.
  • Red ribbons are distributed and worn to signify hope. Social media outlets may also distribute electronic ribbons.
  • Activities such as seminars on AIDS prevention and DVD screenings are arranged at schools, businesses, health care organizations, and local agencies.
  • A candlelight vigil may be held at a local park where musicians, storytellers, dancers, and poets could spread the message of AIDS prevention.
  • Religious leaders speak about AIDS tolerance.
  • Services that provide meals, companionship, shelter, and transportation to people with AIDS are launched at events.

 

world aids day

World Aids Day Objectives

Every year, UN member states are supported in building up new and increasingly effective policies and programs to improve health systems to better deal with AIDS through various objectives such as:

  • Improving guidance of member states for increasing prevention and control of HIV/AIDS across the globe.
  • Providing technical assistance to member states to implement plans for preventing and treating AIDS. These include testing and counseling, antiretroviral therapy, and STI control.
  • Creating awareness of antiretroviral medication and other therapies that may help with the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
  • Involving peer groups in campaigning for the most effective results
  • Encouraging university and school students to contribute in competitions arranged to create awareness of AIDS
  • To decrease and control the number of people infected by HIV/AIDS and to encourage the use of condoms

World AIDS Day in Rwanda

This year, the World Health Organization will join forces with the Rwandan government in Kigali to celebrate the day. The focus is to highlight the role that local communities are playing in eradicating the AIDS epidemic. Leaders across the globe recognized this essential role in the UN declaration on universal health coverage and the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-Being for All, which was approved by the UN Member States in September this year. The campaign on World AIDS Day in Rwanda will lead to Africa’s 20th International Conference on AIDS and STIs (ICASA 2019), which will take place in Kigali from December 2-7.

Observances in the United States

The AIDS Service Foundation of Greater Kansas City has been actively working to eradicate the spread, suffering, and stigma of HIV/AIDS in their community. During the week of World AIDS Day, the foundation rallies with the goal of an AIDS-free world. This year, the foundation is presenting two events: the World AIDS Day Community Luncheon and the World AIDS Day Patrons Reception. The events will feature keynote speakers and pay special attention to colored communities.

Other events around the United States held include:

  • The 2019 Triple Threat Conference in Minnesota
  • Applying 35 Years of HIV Work to the Substance Use Epidemic in Massachusetts
  • The 2019 Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Clinical Care Conference
  • The Ninth International Workshop on HIV Persistence, Reservoirs and Eradication Strategies Conference in Florida

Five Tips for How to Find the Right Charity to Support

How to Pick the Right Charity

Supporting a charity can be a rewarding way to give back. But before you start making donations, it is important to choose a charity that is in line with your objectives. There are so many different charitable organizations around these days, and some are not entirely honest about how donations are used. Sadly, there are also a lot of scams out there. While it’s not always easy to make an informed decision, these guidelines may prove helpful.

1. Choose Your Cause

Some of us feel passionate about a specific cause, like preserving the environment, helping underprivileged children, or funding research about a disease that has affected someone we love. If you don’t already have a cause that is close to your heart, start by investigating the options out there, such as the fields of medicine, education, art and culture, military veterans, and the environment. Eventually, something should resonate and you’ll realize what’s right for you.

2. Do Your Homework

Many causes have several specialized charities dedicated to them. Once you have chosen a cause that you believe in, start researching charities that support it. Unfortunately, some of the charities out there may not be legitimate. Once you have a short list of charities you are considering, do a search of each charity’s name. If any red flags come up, it may be best to avoid that particular organization. You can also use sites like GuideStar, CharityWatch, or Charity Navigator to help research the charities before committing to donations.

3. Check with the Charity Personally

The only way you will know for certain that the charity’s work is in line with your objectives is by checking in personally. Visit them, ask for a tour, call, or email them and ask important questions like:

  • Exactly how are donations used?
  • How is the effectiveness of your work evaluated?
  • What progress are you making towards your goals?
  • How is this measured?
  • What is your privacy policy?

4. Decide What to Give

Although it is probably the most common method of support, donating money is not the only option when it comes to supporting a charity. Time is valuable, too.

5. Give

  • Money – If you decide to donate money, consider setting up a regular donation you can afford. Remember that donations are often tax deductible. Make sure you check your bank account to make sure that you are only charged what you have agreed to donate and keep a record of all donations.
  • Time – Many charities need volunteers as much as they need donations. Let them know what you do for a living and what other skills you have. It can be extremely rewarding to donate your time, especially if you can provide a service at which you are particularly skilled.
  • Blood or hair – Donating blood requires just a few minutes of your time and can really help save a life. Human hair wigs can be costly so donating hair can help to drastically improve the life of somebody suffering from cancer and undergoing chemotherapy.