World AIDS Day
1 December 2021
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. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first-ever global health day.
END INEQUALITIES. END AIDS. END PANDEMICS.
The world is threatened by an expanding list of pandemics. As we enter a third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we also enter the fifth decade of the AIDS pandemic.
The actions we need to end AIDS will also help us stop future pandemics.
The world has failed to act with the urgency we need to both end AIDS and prepare for the next pandemic.
COVID-19 has been so much worse than it could have been. As the world mobilizes against COVID-19 and prepares against future pandemics, we risk repeating many of the same mistakes that have kept us from ending AIDS.
The course corrections we need to end AIDS will also protect the world against future pandemics. We need a paradigm shift in global health financing and invest in community-led, human rights-based, gender transformative responses, essential workers, equitable access to life-saving medicines and health technologies, data systems that can detect inequalities, and rights-based approaches that address those inequalities.
IF WE DO NOT reshape our AIDS and pandemic responses urgently on these lines the list of deadly pandemics will continue to grow—needlessly claiming lives, holding back socio-economic development and ruining communities and societies.
IF WE DO, the results will be repaid in terms of human health and development and financially.
Why is World AIDS Day Important?
Over 105,200 people are living with HIV in the UK. Globally, there are an estimated 38 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS-related illnesses, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. Despite this, each year in the UK over 4,139 people are diagnosed with HIV, 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.
World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.
Statement courtesy of the National AIDS Trust