Human Immunodeficiency Virus/ Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) cases are increasing per year. It does not only affect women but men and children as well. The disease is easily transmitted and is very fatal. Even though years of study have already been done, no treatments were still available to really cure the disease. According to UNAIDS, HIV/AIDS is affecting 33.2 Million people including 2.5 million children and around the year 2007 another 2.5 million people got newly infected with the disease. We could just see the fast pace of passing the infection from one person to another. About half of the total number of the people affected by the disease contacted the disease before they reach the age of 25 and unfortunately dies before they reach the age of 35 (World AIDS Day, n.d). The developing nations account for the 95% of the total number of HIV/AIDS victims. With this kind of trend in the society, what was the answer of the health sector all over the world? What was done to increase the awareness of the people about the disease? What purpose does World AIDS Day serve and what is the main goal of the founders why they started the observance of the said day? Why do we still mention it until today?
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On December 1, 1988, the very first World AIDS Day was established. The concept of the celebration of World AIDS Day started at the 1998 World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS Prevention joined by 140 countries (World AIDS Day 2006, n.d.). The campaign is not merely for raising funds but also for increasing the awareness, improving the education and fighting prejudice (World AIDS Day, n.d). Celebrated every first of December, this serves to strengthen global efforts to address the challenges that the pandemic of AIDS bring (World AIDS Day, n.d.). This day gave an opportunity for the non-governmental and local organizations, as well as individuals to show the importance of fighting AIDS and their dedication to this campaign.
Every year World AIDS Day has different themes. The very first celebration of the World AIDS Day was “Communication”, in 1989 “Youth”, in 1990 “Women and AIDS”, 1991 “Sharing the Challenge”, 1992 “Community and Commitment”, 1993 “Act”, 1194 “AIDS and the Family”, 1995 “Shared Rights, Shared Responsibilities”, 1996 “One World, One Hope”, 1997 “Children Living in a World with AIDS”, 1998 “Force for Change: World AIDS Campaign with Young People”, 1999 “Listen, Learn, Live: World AIDS Campaign with Children and Young People”, 2000 “ AIDS: Men Make a Difference”, 2001 “I care. Do You?” 2002 and 2003 “Stigma and Discrimination, 2004 “Women, Girls, HIV and AIDS”, 2005 “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise”, 2006 “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise-Accountability”, and in 2007 “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise-Leadership”. Every year different themes were made and in connection with the themes organizations discuss information that the public needs to know. The themes are the basis of what would be included in the talks all over the world. This would give them idea on which topic to focus on thus increasing the awareness of the people about AIDS every year.
Each Year, from 1988-2004, it was the UNAIDS that spearheaded the World AIDS Day campaign; it was the organization that consulted the themes with other global health organizations. By the year 2005, the responsibility was then given to World AIDS Campaign (WAC) and this organization chose the main theme “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise” for the World AIDS Day until the year 2010.
World AIDS Day is celebrated every year and a red ribbon is worn as an important symbol of AIDS awareness. This is worn all year round by some people and some just wear this every first of December just to remind everyone of the World AIDS Day thus remembering why this day is celebrated. Some may wear this to demonstrate their care and concern about HIV and AIDS and somehow affect others for their commitment and support.
Why the World AIDS Day is then celebrated all across the globe? The World AIDS Day is not just celebrated in the United States, Europe, or Asia, it is observed all over the world because the disease does not only affect this part of the globe, but the occurrence of the disease is worldwide. This affects men, women and children all over the globe. Considering the fast pace of the infection, people all over the world needs to be informed of the disease. The awareness must spread all over the world to educate the people about the disease so as to be careful and avoid activities that may expose them to the possibility of having the disease. Education about the disease should also include information about the kind of activities that may predispose one to the disease. Proper education and wide awareness may be a key to prevention and prevention is very essential because the disease has no known cure. All over the world, awareness raising activities are done and this is participated by a number of participants showing that they are concerned with importance of education about AIDS. The global awareness is very important to help decrease the number of infections per year. This does not affect only a certain locality but all people, with no exceptions, can be infected by the disease thus worldwide information dissemination is a must.
What’s the importance of celebrating the World AIDS Day? This very day is a constant reminder for us that there is a disease, a fatal one which is very contagious and affects millions of people around the world. This day is a reminder that HIV is here to stay until a cure is found. That every year we are reminded of our responsibility as an individual to help in our own little way in stopping the spread of the disease. Living by example may affect others and be responsible with themselves as well. This is where love and support is important among family members and between husband and wife. In this way, people would tend to look ahead and plan their lives rather than play around and have the disease.
Why is this day still mentioned until the present? HIV/AIDS has not yet gone away. It is still left with no treatment for cure. Studies are still done to find the treatment for the said disease. The World AIDS Day is a constant reminder for us that there are still a lot of people living with AIDS, many die from the disease. World AIDS Day would always remind us of the purpose it serves. It is to raise the communities’ awareness about the said disease. This also calls for support and understanding to those people living with the disease and the need to educate people on the about the disease and the prevention initiatives (World AIDS Day 2007 Stop AIDS Keep the Promise, n.d.)
In the present day, World AIDS Day has already influenced a lot of nations. The response of the people from different races and different cultures was positive that they even voluntarily participated in increasing the community’s awareness about the disease. This day is marked worldwide, and their purpose was met. Through the help of the government and the concerned people, this day is set to remain a primary vehicle for reinforcing the awareness about AIDS either nationally or internationally regardless of the theme or the participation of the UN (World AIDS Day, n.d.).
The World AIDS Day was created to serve a great purpose; it is to increase the awareness of the people. Increasing their awareness would include a plan for an improved education so to help the people better understand AIDS. AIDS may be a complicated disease to understand but it is not necessary for one to know the process that is going on with the disease. The most important thing that the people must know is its prevalence, its being contagious, how a person can have it, its effects and how is it prevented. These are the things that the World AIDS Day is primarily focusing into. Celebrating World AIDS Day every year constantly reminds us of the purpose, decrease the prevalence of the disease. By increasing awareness, chances it would be decreasing the HIV/AIDS cases every year. Proper information dissemination, especially with the activities done during World AIDS Day would help people reflect on its effects. New movements have been done. They wanted to transform the World AIDS Day not just a day for awareness but a day for transformation as well. The group came up with the activity entitled “6000 Reasons to Act” this is because 6000 children will lose a parent everyday because of AIDS (World AIDS Day, n.d.). This is an effect of the World AIDS Day information dissemination that was started almost 20 years ago.
World AIDS Day did not just awaken people to be careful with their very own selves but it also awakened the charity in them because many organizations were born to help people with AIDS through World AIDS Day.
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UMCOR United Methodist Committee on Relief. n.d. World AIDS Day 2007.
Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise. Web.
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