World AIDS Day, designated on 1 December every year since 1988, is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease. The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The HIV virus attacks the immune system of the patient and reduces its resistance to other diseases. Government and health officials, non-governmental organizations, and individuals around the world observe the day, often with education on AIDS prevention and control.
World AIDS Day is one of the eleven official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO), along with World Health Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Immunization Week, World Tuberculosis Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Malaria Day, World Hepatitis Day, World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, World Patient Safety Day and World Chagas Disease Day.
As of 2017, AIDS has killed between 28.9 million and 41.5 million people worldwide, and an estimated 36.7 million people are living with HIV, making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history. Thanks to recent improved access to antiretroviral treatment in many regions of the world, the death rate from AIDS epidemic has decreased since its peak in 2005 (1 million in 2016, compared to 1.9 million in 2005).
All the World AIDS Day campaigns focus on a specific theme, chosen following consultations with UNAIDS, WHO, and a large number of grassroots, national and international agencies involved in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. As of 2008, each year’s theme is chosen by the Global Steering Committee of the World AIDS Campaign (WAC).
For each World AIDS Day from 2005 through 2010, the theme was “Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise”, designed to encourage political leaders to keep their commitment to achieving universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care, and support by the year 2010.
As of 2012, the multi-year theme for World AIDS Day is “Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero deaths from AIDS-related illness. Zero discrimination.” The US Federal theme for the year 2014 is “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation”.
The themes are not limited to a single day but are used year-round in international efforts to highlight HIV/AIDS awareness within the context of other major global events including the G8 Summit, as well as local campaigns like the Student Stop AIDS Campaign in the UK.
Theme for 2020: Global solidarity shared responsibility
Let’s be more caring and responsible as human beings!