World AIDS Day takes place on 1 December each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.
Over 105,200 people are living with HIV in the UK. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS related illnesses worldwide, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
Today, HIV treatment means that people can live with undetectable HIV. Undetectable HIV means untransmittable HIV – if you have an undetectable viral load then you cannot pass HIV onto your sexual partners. Despite this, each year in the UK over 4,139 people are diagnosed with HIV. Many people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition as well as a barrier to people getting tested.
What can I do on World AIDS Day?
- Buy a red ribbon. World AIDS Day is an opportunity to show solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV worldwide. Most people do this by wearing an HIV awareness red ribbon on the day. Order a red ribbon.
- Get tested. Getting tested is the only way to find out if you have HIV. If you are living with HIV, starting treatment early means you can live a full, healthy and productive life. Free and confidential HIV tests are available from NHS sexual health clinics.
- World AIDS Day may be once a year, but you can still support people living with HIV all year round. Sign up to National AIDS Trust’s mailing list to stay up-to-date with new developments in HIV, and learn how you can get involved as an activist or as a volunteer.
Fast-Track Cities HIV anti-stigma work
In January 2018, The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, signed the Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities Ending the AIDS Epidemic, along with London Councils, Public Health England and NHS England. The ambition is to cut rates of new HIV infection in the capital and eliminate discrimination and stigma associated with the condition.
You can find out more about Fast-Track Cities anti-stigma work here.
Find out more about World Aids Day here.