Each year, on 1 December, the world commemorates World AIDS Day. People around the world unite to show support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses.
Each World AIDS Day focuses on a specific theme, which this year is EQUALIZE. UNAIDS is urging each of us to address the inequalities which are holding back progress in ending AIDS. This year’s theme joins a growing list of challenges that World AIDS Day has alerted people to globally.
Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever international day for global health. Every year, United Nations agencies, governments and civil society join together to campaign around specific themes related to HIV.
World AIDS Day Vigil
Regional HIV/AIDS Connection is hosting a night of remembrance at the annual World AIDS Vigil on December 1 from 7-8pm at First St. Andrews United Church, taking time to remember those we have lost to HIV/AIDS. Community members will be lighting candles to remember, celebrate, honour and cure.
Doors open at 6:30pm and refreshments served.
Location: FIRST ST. ANDREWS UNITED CHURCH
Address: 350 QUEENS AVE London ON
The Red Ribbon
Since the beginning of the epidemic, over 40 million people have died of AIDS. Roughly the same number of people were living with HIV at the end of 2021.
Treatment of and education about HIV/AIDS has improved significantly since twelve artists came together in New York’s East Village in 1991 to discuss a new project for Visual AIDS, an HIV awareness organization.
From that conversation, one of the most important symbols of the decade and one of the most recognized awareness initiatives in history was originated: the RED RIBBON CAMPAIGN.
Worn to signify awareness and support of people living with HIV/AIDS, the Red Ribbon came at a time when the disease was highly stigmatized and those living with it remained largely hidden.
Inspired by the yellow tree ribbons of the Gulf War, the twelve Red Ribbon Campaign artists chose red for its boldness and its symbolic associations with passion, the heart and love.
Within weeks, the Red Ribbon would be seen at the Oscars on Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Jeremy Irons to name a few. In the coming days, 100,000 fans would wear the Red Ribbon at a tribute concert to music icon Freddie Mercury, who passed away of AIDS.
The Red Ribbon was a worldwide success. People were talking about HIV/AIDS. By the end of the year, the Red Ribbon was so ubiquitous with the cause that Time Magazine declared 1992 the Year of the Ribbon.
Help keep the conversation alive this World AIDS Day.
Undetectable = Untransmittable
It means undetectable equals untransmittable. Numerous studies over many years have found that individuals who are on effective HIV treatment, also referred to as undetectable, cannot transmit HIV to their sexual partners.
It is both a testament to the incredible advancement of HIV treatment as well as an empowering message for people living with HIV. That being said, not everyone will have the same access to treatment, or the same experience in accessing it.
Linking individuals to treatment is not without it’s barriers, many of them systemic. But U=U adds to the important narrative that people with HIV can live full, rich lives, and can be your friends, your family, or your sexual partner.
Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)
PrEP is used by people who are HIV negative to help prevent them from getting HIV.
PrEP is a medication that you take starting before and continuing after you come into contact with HIV. It is important to take the pull as prescribed for it to work. For most people, this means taking it every day. It is very rare for someone who is taking PrEP as prescribed to get HIV. Besides taking pills, taking PrEP involves seeing a doctor or nurse every three months for HIV testing, screening for STIs and other infections, monitoring for possible side effects, and ongoing support. Most public and private drug plans will cover the cost of PrEP. For more information, talk to a member of the Health Centre team or your health care practitioner.