What will you do this World AIDS Day?
Started on 1st December 1988, World AIDS Day is about raising money, increasing awareness,fighting prejudice and improving education. World AIDS Day is important for reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done.
According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 34 million people living with HIV. During 2010 some 2.7 million people became newly infected with the virus, including an estimated 390,000 children. Despite a significant decline in the estimated number of AIDS-related deaths over thelast five years, there were still an estimated 1.8 million AIDS-related deaths in 2010
HIV stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is a virus which attacks the body’s immune system — the body’s defence against diseases.
HIV can be passed on through infected bodily fluids, most commonly via sex without a condom or by sharing infected needles, syringes or other injecting drug equipment.
There are now more people than ever living with HIV in the UK — more than 90,000 — with around a quarter of those unaware they have the virus.
Here are a few more facts about HIV in the UK:
Over 90% of people with HIV were infected through sexual contact
You can now get tested for HIV using a saliva sample
HIV is not passed on through spitting, biting or sharing utensils
Only 1% of babies born to HIV positive mothers have HIV
You can get the results of an HIV test in just 15-20 minutes
There is no vaccine and no cure for HIV
Have any of these facts come as a surprise? There is still loads more you can learn about HIV in the UK by visiting HIVaware — our fun, interactive new website which provides all the information everyone should know about HIV. HIVaware gives you facts and stats on HIV, busts common myths and answers your frequently asked questions.
What can I do? – Wear a red ribbon and raise awareness
The red ribbon is an international symbol of AIDS awareness that is worn by people all year round and particularly around World AIDS Day to demonstrate care and concern about HIV and AIDS, and to remind others of the need for their support and commitment.
The red ribbon started as a “grass roots” effort; as a result there is no one official AIDS ribbon manufacturer, and many people make their own. It’s easily done – just use some ordinary red ribbon and a safety pin!
If you want to take your awareness raising a step further then try finding a local event to take part in. Around the world there are hundreds of activities taking place to mark World AIDS Day, including candlelight vigils, art shows, marches and religious services. If you can’t find anything in your area then why not organise an event yourself?
What can I do? – Raise money for AVERT
AVERT has AIDS projects in the parts of the world most severely affected by HIV and AIDS.Many of the people affected by HIV/AIDS in these areas are also dealing with other challenges such as extreme poverty, stigma and lack of healthcare. Our work tackles a range of issues such as education, treatment and care. The projects also aim to help the children orphaned or otherwise affected by HIV and AIDS.
There are LOADS of different ways you can support our projects by fundraising for AVERT. Here are just a few ideas:
Sponsored events – Walking, running, sponsored silence, reading or, if you fancy something more high octane, how about a sky dive or a bungee jump?
Organize an event – Office fun day, jumble sale, cake sale, coffee morning, football tournament, concert, poetry night or dance.
Other ideas – Kick a bad habit (e.g. smoking), give up something you love for a month (e.g. TV, chocolate or alcohol!), shave your head.