Since 1988, the World AIDS Day is held every year on December 1st. It was the first ever global event on HIV and AIDS. Worldwide there are approximately 36. 9. Million people living with HIV (2017) and about 2.1 million of them are living in India.
HIV infection finally leads to AIDS. In this process, the disease destroys step by step the Immune system. In consequences, it can cause a lot of secondary diseases, for example, life-threatening tumors and opportunistic infections. In 2017, there were 1.8 million people all over the world, who got newly infected. Since only about 60% of infected people have access to medical treatment and/or medication, a major goal of the World AIDS Day is to spread awareness to these issues and help provide affected people with crucial support.
The day is also for remembering those who have been affected, suffered and died because of HIV and its related illness, as well as to bring attention for the ongoing struggle with this unrelenting disease. There is still a lot of stigmas connected with AIDS. It leads to discrimination and social exclusion and often this fear of the disease is caused by lacking or misinformation. It is necessary to educate not only the affected of their rights and possible treatment but also uninvolved parties.
Fearing repercussions and rejection, affected people often hide their infection – if they even know they are infected – and they may even go so far as to renounce their medication or suffer from depression. To show solidarity and unite in the fight against HIV, people all over the world are wearing an HIV awareness red ribbon.
This red ribbon “Visual AIDS” was designed in 1991 by a New York artist team as a reaction to the AIDS-epidemic and the associated deaths during that time. First, it was worn in the art scene and in the gay community. Then the ribbon got more and more popular through celebrities and politicians, who nowadays use social media to promote World AIDS Day and collect large amounts of donations. The Red ribbon is now an international symbol against AIDS and HIV and on December 1st, you can see it worldwide.
Government organizations, health organizations and NGOs use the day to hold events with the goal of educating the infected, spread awareness of HIV related issues and interest the public in the AIDS predicament.
The Thar Desert (GRAVIS main focus area) has currently a low rate of HIV/AIDS infections. However, to help villagers with all kinds of healthcare problems, GRAVIS offers local medical help in form of medical camps and a hospital. The treatments and consultations are affordable and the villagers are not forced to suffer long ways for medical care. Above all, GRAVIS manages awareness camps to educate villager about diseases, their causes, and prevention methods. On World AIDS Day, GRAVIS organized sensitization events and training camps in rural areas to generate greater awareness.
On World AIDS Day people can wear a red ribbon and inform about AIDS and HIV. What is more, people can join an event on HIV. To defeat HIV/AIDS everyone needs access to medication, therefore financial support is needed. Last but not the least, people should get tested for the infection status.
Volunteer from Germany
Communication Coordinator at GRAVIS