Today is World AIDS Day a day dedicated to raising awareness about HIV and AIDS and those that are surviving daily with AIDS. It was started in 1988 by the World Health Organization to be every December 1st and to provide “opportunities for governments, national AIDS programs, faith organizations, community organizations, and individuals with an opportunity to raise awareness and focus attention on the global AIDS epidemic” (via HHS).
Also from the White House,
Our Nation joins the world in celebrating the extraordinary advancements we have made in the battle against HIV and AIDS, and remembering those we have lost. Over the past three decades, brave men and women have fought devastating discrimination, stigma, doubt, and violence as they stood in the face of this deadly disease. Many of them would not be here today, but for the dedication of other persons living with HIV, their loved ones and families, community advocates, and members of the medical profession. On World AIDS Day, we rededicate ourselves to developing a national AIDS strategy that will establish the priorities necessary to combat this devastating epidemic at home, and to renewing our leadership role and commitments abroad.
I can only hope this is more than political gesturing as the last administration made such severe cutbacks to funding for HIV/AIDS at home and abroad. The overturn of the travel ban was a step in the right direction, but we have keep this fight on the forefront of the nation’s imagination. As someone who has friends that have suffered with and without support, through shame and a world that discriminates, and has worked to overcome my own fears, I strongly recommend reading some stories, educating yourself and breaking out of the cycle of shame by talking. I think about the AIDS epidemic on many days, not just on World AIDS day, but I will take this day to remember people I have loved, people that have suffered and people that have shown me courage I never thought possible.
For a full list of events worldwide the World AIDS Campaign has a full list of events and the official website of WAD has some great information as well. Please put additional links articles or stories in comments. Also, a very interesting story on a program in San Francisco that is tracking treatment in neighborhoods that have high rates of HIV/AIDS to find if there is disparity.