Today is World AIDS Day. A day to remember the more than 25 million people who have died of the virus, support the more than 33 million people living with HIV, raise awareness of the disease and end negative stigmas associated with the disease. World AIDS Day is now in its 23rd year. The event’s continued success can be attributed to expansive organizational involvement and backing celebrity power.
This year marks 30 years since the discovery of the virus, and while there is still work to be done to rid the world of the disease, it is also important to highlight the scientific advancements that have been made. AIDS is no longer a death sentence as it was fifteen years ago thanks to affordable treatment. In addition, mother-to-child transmission is now entirely preventable if a mother has access to the required medication.
This year, several organizations have launched awareness and advocacy campaigns using a variety of interactive and creative approaches. Here are a few examples:
- RED and ONE broadcast The Beginning of the End of AIDS live on YouTube. The star studded event included political figures including Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Bono, Alicia Keys and others. RED and ONE also launched the 2015 quilt – an interactive way for people all over the world to show their support for HIV/AIDS and help build the quilt through designing a panel and making a pledge.
- UNAIDS launched the “Be An Activist” campaign encouraging people to get involved in the effort to get to zero AIDS- related deaths by 2015. The campaign includes education, a place to enter your ideas, videos, photos, a fundraising component and an award nomination. You can also add a Twibbon to turn Facebook and Twitter red.
- Greater Than AIDS is a new national movement launched to respond to AIDS in America. Americans are asked to share their “Deciding Moments” – personal experiences that changed how they think about the disease.
- The Keep a Child Alive with Alicia Keys documentary of five Americans who won the opportunity to travel to South Africa with Alicia Keys visiting the organizations’ sites in Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa and see first hand the impact of HIV/AIDS in the communities. The documentary airs on Showtime tonight at 6 pm PT.
Looking for other ways to get involved? Check out this great listing of events Seattle CBS local put together or follow #WorldAIDSDay, #WAD11, #endAIDS. Please share any other cool HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns you know of.
Fun Fact: Did you know that the red ribbon, the universal symbol for AIDS awareness was the first ever ribbon symbol used? (source: WorldAIDSDay.org)