According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.2 million people living with HIV, including 2.5 million children. During 2007 some 2.5 million people became newly infected with the virus. Around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35.
Around 95% of people with HIV/AIDS live in developing nations. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world.
Started on 1st December 1988, World AIDS Day is not just about raising money, but also about increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. World AIDS Day is important in reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done.
The Theme for World AIDS Day 2007
World AIDS Day was originally organised by UNAIDS, who chose the theme after consultation with other organisations. In 2005 UNAIDS handed over responsibility for World AIDS Day to an independent organisation known as The World AIDS Campaign (WAC).
The WAC’s slogan for their work is "Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise". This is an appeal to governments, policy makers and regional health authorities to ensure that they meet the many targets that have been set in the fight against HIV and AIDS, and especially the promise of universal access to HIV treatment, care, support and prevention services by 2010. This campaign will run until 2010, with a related theme chosen for World AIDS Day each year.
The 2007 theme, “leadership”, highlights the need for innovation, vision and perseverance in the face of the AIDS challenge. The campaign calls on all sectors of society such as families, communities and civil society organisations - rather than just governments - to take the initiative and provide leadership on AIDS.
Previous World AIDS Day themes
World AIDS Day themes over the years have included:
* 2007 - Stop AIDS; Keep the Promise - Leadership
* 2006 - Stop AIDS; Keep the Promise - Accountability
* 2005 - Stop AIDS; Keep the Promise
* 2004 - Women, Girls, HIV and AIDS
* 2003 - Stigma & Discrimination
* 2002 - Stigma & Discrimination
* 2001 - I care. Do you?
* 2000 - AIDS : Men make a difference
* 1999 - Listen, Learn, Live: World AIDS Campaign with Children & Young People
* 1998 - Force for Change: World AIDS Campaign With Young People
* 1997 - Children Living in a World with AIDS
* 1996 - One World, One Hope
* 1995 - Shared Rights, Shared Responsibilities
* 1994 - AIDS & the Family
* 1993 - Act
* 1992 - Community Commitment
* 1991 - Sharing the Challenge
* 1990 - Women & AIDS
* 1989 - Youth
* 1988 - Communication
The AIDS red ribbon
The red ribbon is an international symbol of AIDS awareness that is worn by people all year round and particularly around World AIDS Day to demonstrate care and concern about HIV and AIDS, and to remind others of the need for their support and commitment.
The red ribbon started as a "grass roots" effort; as a result there is no one official AIDS ribbon manufacturer, and many people make their own. It's easily done - just use some ordinary red ribbon and a safety pin!
What can I do to support World AIDS Day?
There are many ways in which you can support World AIDS Day. For example:
* Raise awareness of HIV and AIDS in your area
* Wear a red ribbon and ask others to do the same
* Sign up as a supporter of the Stop AIDS in Children campaign
* Protect yourself and your partners - this is the first and best way to stop the spread of HIV
* If you are worried - get tested
At school or work, you can support World AIDS Day by:
* Having a dressing up, down or fancy dress day
* Putting up some posters - get people talking
* Making and selling red ribbons
* Organising a creative writing/poster campaign
* Setting up a debate or a quiz - there are lots of ideas for topics on our site
* Cooking an international meal or having a cake sale
* Arranging a sponsored three-legged race or balloon release
* Getting your friends, family, colleagues or pupils to express their feelings and expand their knowledge about AIDS
* Using your imagination!