December 1 is recognized globally as World AIDS Day.
The World Health Organization (WHO) established the annual observance in 1988 as a way to offer communities the chance to unite to fight against the HIV/AIDS stigma, commemorate those who have lost the battle with AIDS, and also show support for those who are living with the disease.
This year's theme for World Aids Day 2017 in the U.S., "Increasing Impact Through Transparency, Accountability, and Partnerships," asks that "we work together to accelerate progress toward ending HIV as a public health threat in the United States and around the world."
"This theme reflects the United States government’s longstanding leadership in addressing HIV/AIDS both at home and abroad and how we are increasing our impact to move epidemics from crisis toward control," U.S. State Department Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Deborah L. Birx wrote in a blog post. "It also highlights the historic opportunity we have to accelerate progress toward ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic as a public health threat in the United States and around the world."
Though new HIV infections have fallen by 39 percent and AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 33 percent since 2000, HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives a year, according to WHO. The disease has claimed more than 35 million lives so far.
Across the globe, approximately 36.7 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, including more than one million who live in the United States. However, 15 percent of people with HIV in the U.S. don’t know they have the virus, and about 40 percent of new HIV infections come from them.
"While we have made considerable progress in recent decades, tens of thousands of Americans are infected with HIV every year," President Donald Trump wrote in a White House blog post. "My Administration will continue to invest in testing initiatives to help people who are unaware they are living with HIV learn their status."
Organizations and groups around the world will hold events to celebrate World AIDS Day. In the U.S., former President Bill Clinton will deliver the keynote address at the National AIDS Memorial in San Francisco, California. Friday's event marks the 25th anniversary of the memorial, which was created to honor those lost to the AIDS epidemic. Cities and famous landmarks will also light up in red to honor those who have lost the battle with AIDS and to show support for those who continue to fight.
Here's some ways you can help:
The red ribbon has become the universal symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV. Purchase or make your own red ribbon to show your support for World AIDS Day.
In 2006, U2's Bono and activist Bobby Shriver founded (RED) a non-profit organization that partners with the private sector to raise awareness and funds to help eliminate HIV/AIDS in Africa. Since then, they’ve raised more than $500 million for grants to provide survivors with anti-retroviral treatments that can cost as little as 30 cents a day, but that still aren’t accessible to millions suffering from the disease.
(RED) partners like Amazon, Apple, Starbucks, Le Creuset and GNC, among many others, donate 50 percent of the profits from (RED) products to the Global Fund HIV/AIDS. The organization provides life-saving anti-retroviral medication (ARVs) that works to keep the virus from multiplying and can prevent an HIV positive pregnant woman from transmitting the virus to her child.
(RED) is also again teaming up with Omaze for a chance to win once-in-a-life-time celebrity experiences. Each donation of at least $25 to (RED) will give you an entry to one of several "experiences," including playing mini golf with U2, attending a movie premiere with Reese Witherspoon and hanging out with Diddy on the set of his new TV show.
MAC cosmetics is donating 100 percent of the selling price of MAC VIVA GLAM lipstick and lipgloss to the MAC AIDS Fund. The company is featuring two new lip products named after the current VIVA GLAM spokeswoman Taraji P. Henson: Taraji’s matte fuchsia with pearl Lipstick and matching shimmery Lipglass.
Elton John AIDS Foundation:
Musician and noted philanthropist Sir Elton John is raising awareness and funds for the global HIV/AIDS epidemic with the help of mobile messaging app Kwippit and 25 famous friends.
Each day during the month of December, a custom-made digital emoji heart will be released to subscribers of Kwippit's Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) channel to share on social media and text messages. All proceeds from downloads ($.99 annual membership) directly benefits the non-profit's grant-making programs that focus on raising awareness, sharing preventative information, and offering medical care and treatment to people living with HIV.
The HIV Testing Sites & Care Services Locator is a first-of-its-kind, location-based search tool that allows user to search for testing services, housing providers and HIV-related health centers near your current location.
Use and share the HIV testing sites and care services locator.