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Witness to an Epidemic

This World AIDS Day bear witness to the epidemic through those who lived to tell the tale.  In a time when there was only hope to survive, hear the stories of those who persevered to survive until a national outrage caused the mobilization of scientists to quickly advance treatment.  Not since the days of polio epidemic had a cause caught the attention of the world to find answers quickly as HIV spread rapidly in every corner of the world.

Every hour from Noon, November 30th to midnight, the eve of World AIDS Day, a 4 minute video of a witness to the epidemic will be released. ns,  Each person’s journey is different, every story different, everyone had coped through this horrible time on a thread of hope.  

We’re at the doorstep of ending this epidemic.  Today with viral suppression helping to end the spread of HIV along with PrEP prevention treatment major metropolitan cities are seeing significant reduction in HIV infections.  Getting to Zero is the goal for 2022,  

Let’s make this the last times we recognize World AIDS Day.

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12:00 am Midnight - December 1, 2018 World AIDS Day

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What is World AIDS Day?

World AIDS Day, designated on 1 December every year since 1988, is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease. Government and health officials, non-governmental organizations, and individuals around the world observe the day, often with education on AIDS prevention and control.

World AIDS Day is one of the eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO), along with World Health Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Immunization Week, World Tuberculosis Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Malaria Day and World Hepatitis Day.

As of 2017, AIDS has killed between 28.9 million and 41.5 million people worldwide, and an estimated 36.7 million people are living with HIV, making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history. Thanks to recent improved access to antiretroviral treatment in many regions of the world, the death rate from AIDS epidemic has decreased since its peak in 2005 (1 million in 2016, compared to 1.9 million in 2005).

World AIDS Day was first conceived in August 1987 by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, two public information officers for the Global Programme on AIDS at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Bunn and Netter took their idea to Dr. Jonathan Mann, Director of the Global Programme on AIDS (now known as UNAIDS). Dr. Mann liked the concept, approved it, and agreed with the recommendation that the first observance of World AIDS Day should be on 1 December 1988. Bunn, a former television broadcast journalist from San Francisco, had recommended the date of 1 December that believing it would maximize coverage of World AIDS Day by western news media, sufficiently long following the US elections but before the Christmas holidays.

In its first two years, the theme of World AIDS Day focused on children and young people. While the choice of this theme was criticized at the time by some for ignoring the fact that people of all ages may become infected with HIV, the theme helped alleviate some of the stigma surrounding the disease and boost recognition of the problem as a family disease.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) became operational in 1996, and it took over the planning and promotion of World AIDS Day. Rather than focus on a single day, UNAIDS created the World AIDS Campaign in 1997 to focus on year-round communications, prevention and education. In 2004, the World AIDS Campaign became an independent organization.

Each year, Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have released a greeting message for patients and doctors on World AIDS Day.

In 2016, a collection of HIV and AIDS related NGOs (including Panagea Global AIDS and The AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa) started a campaign to rename World AIDS Day to World HIV Day. They claim the change will put the emphasis on social justice issues, and the advancement of treatments like PrEP.

In the US, the White House began marking World AIDS Day with the iconic display of a 28 foot AIDS Ribbon on the building's North Portico in 2007. White House aid Steven M. Levine, then serving in President George W. Bush's administration, proposed the display to symbolize the United States' commitment to combat the world AIDS epidemic through its landmark PEPFAR program. The White House display, an annual tradition across four presidential administrations, quickly garnered attention.

Since 1993, the President of the United States has made an official proclamation for World AIDS Day (see section #US Presidential Proclamations for World AIDS Day for copies of those proclamations).

This year, AHF is commemorating and celebrating the 30th Anniversary of World AIDS Day with an original art show and concert. Join us on Saturday, December 1st for an exhibition of never-before-seen works of art as well as live performances by DJ Carisma, Cheska, Rocsi Diaz, and Monica!

In collaboration with AHF affinity groups (FLUX, LOUD & Impulse) we’re celebrating the one million lives in care landmark and looking towards new ways of addressing barriers to care and prevention on a global scale. Please join us and help make our voice heard around the world!

Please join us on Saturday, December 1, 2018. We look forward to seeing you there. Help us choose a winner for each affinity group by choosing your favorite piece during our event by voting.

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