It has been 26 years since the World AIDS Day was first observed; December 1 was designated as World AIDS day by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1988. The sole aim was to raise awareness of the global epidemic of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) and the spread of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).
According to reports, approximately 34 million people are living with the fatal virus all across the world. HIV/AIDS has emerged as one of the most horrifying pandemics of all times so far, with over 35 million people succumbing to the disease.
As several countries across the globe, come together to mark the occasion of the 26th World AIDS Day today, we bring to you some note-worthy campaigns:
- In Islamabad, the provincial capital of Pakistan, a campaign dubbed “No syringe-need life” was launched against injection drug users (IDUs) by the Youth Council for Anti Narcotics (YOCFAN) and the City District Government Lahore (CDGL). The campaign aims to condemn the free syringe program in the country, which is undoubtedly a significant contributor in promotion of addiction among the people.
- Prince Harry is joining the league of celebrities like Nicole Scherzinger, Gemma Arterton, Paloma Faith and Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton under a campaign called #FeelNoShame. Carriers of HIV face shame and stigma when and if they speak out; as a result, the prince is seeking to extend his support towards the HIV victims worldwide through #FeelNoShame. In the campaign started by a charity which helps vulnerable children from the African nation of Lesotho, Prince Harry said this World AIDS Day would be turned into “a day in which no one should feel any shame about their secrets“.
- In an interesting and offbeat steamy-selfie campaign, men are being encouraged to take pictures of themselves in the shower. The objective of the campaign, #weareALLclean, is to eliminate the stigma surrounding HIV. The campaign was originally launched by Jack Mackenroth, an American swimmer, model and fashion designer who became the first person on the US reality show Project Runway, to openly admit that he was HIV-positive. HIV/AIDS nonprofit and research organisations, amfAR and Housing Works will benefit from the money raised by this campaign.
- A public awareness rally is scheduled to take place today at 6 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza in downtown Pensacola in Florida, United States of America. At the event, the renowned associate professor of psychology at the University of West Florida, Dr. Susan Walch, will talk about the global and local impacts of HIV/AIDS. The International World AIDS Day Campaign has selected “Getting to Zero” as the focus in an effort to commemorate World AIDS Day 2014.
- Apple, an American multinational corporation, has decided to change the color of the iconic glowing Apple logo from white to red that can be seen hanging outside its stores in a bid to raise awareness about the battle against AIDS. According to reports, there is also a rise in the contributions made by the company to the cause alongside the (Product) Red charity organization through a tie-in with its Black Friday promotions.
- Ahead of the World AIDS Day, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also demanded increased investment and improvement in access to treatment for children. According to UNICEF, 1.1 million infections among children under 15 have been warded off; however, a lot of steps need to be further taken.
With the number of HIV/AIDS victims being ever on the rise, it is highly important that awareness is raised. By just talking about and debating on the stigma around the disease with friends and family, and by participating in campaigns, the fight against AIDS is sure to go a long way.
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