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World AIDS Day

What is it?

World Aids Day was created in 1988 to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS and to demonstrate support for those living with HIV, and to remember those who have died. World Aids Day falls on the 1st December every year and every year has a key message/theme. See below for some of the key messages/themes from some previous World Aids Day events.

Recent World AIDS Day Themes


World AIDS Day Theme: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise

  • AIDS Walk New York, marks its 20th year and raises $5.8 million – it is the world’s largest private AIDS fundraising event
  • G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland – G8 leaders pledged “to develop and implement a package for HIV prevention, treatment and care, with the aim of as close as possible to universal access to treatment for all those who need it by 2010.” Read about it here
  • World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos includes a priority focus on addressing HIV/AIDS in Africa and other hard hit regions of the world
  • About 1.3 million people in developing countries have access to treatment


World AIDS Day Theme: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Accountability

  • 5 June marks the 25th anniversary of the first reported AIDS case
  • UN convenes follow up meeting and issues progress report on the implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS where the political declaration from this meeting agrees to: “the urgent need to scale up significantly towards the goal of universal access to comprehensive prevention programmes, treatment, care and support by 2010…” Read about it here
  • 16th International AIDS Conference focuses on accountability: Time to Deliver in Toronto
  • First Eastern European and Central Asian AIDS conference held in Moscow ( EECAAC)
  • African Summit on AIDS Malaria and TB (ABUJA +5) reviews the progress made in achieving the targets agreed upon at the previous Abuja Summits
  • Annual global spending on AIDS in low and middle-income countries is $8.9 million – it is estimated that $14.9 billion would be needed for a truly effective response
  • 5th year anniversary of Doha agreement – despite the 5 year anniversary, medicines continue to be priced exorbitantly high – some countries use new bilateral and regional trade agreements specifically to remove these flexibilities.


World AIDS Day Theme: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Leadership “Take the Lead”

  • International HIV/AIDS Implementers Meeting held in Kigali, hosted by the Rwandan government draws over 1,500 delegates to share lessons on HIV, prevention, treatment and care. Co-sponsors include PEPfar, Global Fund, UNAIDS, WHO , UNICEF, the World Bank and GNP+
  • Apx. 33 million people are living with HIV
  • As of 2007, nearly all countries have national policies on HIV.
  • 31% of those in low- to middle-income countries who need treatment received it.
  • Despite HIV awareness now reaching nearly all areas of the globe, infection rates are still happening 2.7 times faster than the increase in number of people receiving treatment.
  • Civil Society efforts bring attention to Novartis court case in India over patent laws. In 2007, Novartis loses a case in an Indian court, stopping possible profound implications for the production of generic drugs.


World AIDS Day Theme: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Leadership “Lead-Empower-Deliver”

  • PEPFAR funding is renewed in July for 2009-2013
  • 17th International AIDS Conference takes place in Mexico focusing on science, accountability and stigma and discrimination
  • UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic notes signs of major progress in the global AIDS response for the first time


World AIDS Day Theme: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Universal Access and Human Right

  • India repeals section 377 of the penal code which had banned homosexuality
  • Newly inaugurated US President Obama changes rules that had prevented funding reaching organisations that provide services linked with abortion
  • UNAIDS epidemic update signals improvements in overall infection rates, survival rates and availability of HIV drugs but warned that the crisis is not over
  • The global financial crisis, coupled with a general falling off of interest, manifests issues for funders and campaigners alike
  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon launches Light for Rights, a joint initiative by amfAR, Broadway Cares, UNAIDS and the World AIDS Campaign, in New York City on World AIDS Day


World AIDS Day Theme: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Universal Access and Human Right

  • More than 100 communities commemorate World AIDS Day with the Light for Rights Campaign
  • 18th International AIDS Conference takes place in Vienna, Austria
  • UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic notes signs of declines in new infections
  • G8 commitments to provide ‘as close as possible to universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support’ by 2010 expires unmet


World AIDS Day Theme: Getting to Zero

World AIDS Day from 2011 to 2015 is about “Getting to Zero.” Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Deaths.

From December 1st 2011 right up until 2015 it’s envisioned that different regions and groups will each year chose one or all of the Zeros that best addresses their situation.

The vision for this year’s World AIDS Day and beyond may be aspirational but the journey towards its attainment is laid with concrete milestones.

10 goals for 2015...

Sexual transmission of HIV reduced by half, including among young
people, men who have sex with men and transmission in the context of
sex work;

Vertical transmission of HIV eliminated and AIDS-related maternal
deaths reduced by half;

All new HIV infections prevented among people who use drugs.

Universal access to anti-retroviral therapy for people living with HIV
who are eligible for  treatment;

TB  deaths among people living with HIV reduced by half;

All  people living with HIV and households affected by HIV are
addressed in  all national social protection strategies and have
access to essential care and support.

Countries with punitive laws and practises around HIV transmission,
sex work, drug use or homosexuality that block effective  responses
reduced by half ;

HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence  eliminated in
half of the countries that have such  restrictions;

HIV-specific needs of women and girls are addressed in  at least half
of all national HIV responses;

Zero tolerance for gender based violence.


What can you do?

1. Wear a Red Ribbon to show your support

2. Fundraise for a local HIV/Sexual Health charity

3. Spread awareness through social media

4. Learn more about HIV for yourself through reading, workshops and training

5. Attend local World Aids Day events 

6. Why not cut and paste the message below and post, tweet, email & text all your loved ones, friends, colleagues and other contacts on World Aids Day.

There are nine reasons why we can mark this day by wearing a red ribbon, and the tenth is for you to personalise your message:


World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day


Ten reasons to wear your


Challenge Stigma & Discrimination

Show support for those living with HIV

To educate others

To raise awareness

For those whose voice can longer be heard

It can be prevented

Because everyone deserves respect

As a symbol of hope


Last but not least,

Add your reason here….

Please forward this message on to as many people as you can.

Thank you