Today is World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day is observed every year on December 1st and was established by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1988 to raise awareness and focus attention on the global AIDS pandemic. The day is also used to mark the achievements made and the work still to be done in the fight against HIV / AIDS.
What does World AIDS Day mean to you? Your responses could be one of the following:
- World AIDS Day, what is that?
- It doesn’t really mean much to me
- A sad day and time for me
- A day where people wear red ribbons
- A day to educate people about AIDS
- I wish people were kinder to those with HIV & AIDs
Whatever your response might be, it has a lot to do with your experience with HIV and AIDS, which is directly related to societal factors such as your age and where you were or weren’t in the mid 1980’s. Whether AIDS has affected you directly, indirectly, or not at all, the more we know about AIDS, the more each of us can help break down the stigma and discrimination behind it.
WHAT IS AIDS?
Over 35 million people have died from AIDS. AIDS is an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It commonly occurs due to infection of the human immunodeficiency virus. The disease causes debilitating illness and premature death in people at young ages — devastating families and communities. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic and potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body’s ability to fight infection and disease.
HIV is only transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk. The virus is not transmittable through food, drink, or silverware; insect bites; kissing or physical touch; clothes; or the shower and toilet.
THE RED RIBBON:
The red ribbon is the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV/AIDS. The red ribbon started as a symbol for HIV and AIDS awareness in 1991 with the Red Ribbon Project created by New York based Visual AIDS Artist Caucus. The goal of the Red Ribbon Project was to keep the artists’ names anonymous and credit that Visual AIDS Artists Caucus as whole. The project was set to be copyright free — allowing any individual or organization use of the red ribbon.
Today, the red ribbon is a symbol of solidarity and compassion for those afflicted by HIV and AIDS. At Forrest Solutions’ Headquarters, we have set a display of red ribbons for members of the office to choose to take and wear in support of World AIDS Day.
RESOURCES REGARDING HIV & AIDS:
Below are a number of links and resources to learn more about World AIDS Day, HIV and AIDS prevention, and information to have if you or someone you know is living with HIV or AIDS.
- For information and downloadable materials on HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and tuberculosis (TB), Visit CDCs National Prevention Information Network (CDC NPIN) online at https://npin.cdc.gov/
- If you wish to consult an information specialist to discuss questions about HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STDs, TB, or HIV testing sites, please contact CDC INFO.
- Visit them online at https://www.cdc.gov/cdc-info/
- Call toll-free 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) / TTY: 1-888-232-6348. Service available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET)
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- To locate nearby HIV prevention, housing, mental health, substance abuse, testing, or treatment services, use our HIV/AIDS Services Locator Widget. Just enter your zip code and view the map of the results which includes addresses, phone numbers and other information to assist you in locating nearby services.
- To get answers to questions or access resources related to HIV or AIDS treatment or clinical trials, contact the National Institutes of Health’s HIVinfo. To reach HIVinfo:
- Call 1-800-HIV-0440 (1-800-448-0440) or
- Email at ContactUs@HIVinfo.nih.gov