On December 1st, 1988, the first World AIDS Day was held in Geneva, Switzerland. The idea was suggested by two public information officers of the then Global Program on AIDS (now the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS), James Bunn and Thomas Netter. The World AIDS Day was the first of the eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO); the others being:
- World Health Day;
- World Blood Donor Day;
- World Immunization Week;
- World Tuberculosis Day;
- World No Tobacco Day;
- World Malaria Day;
- World Hepatitis Day.
No day is ever a bad day to talk about HIV/AIDS, create awareness in our local communities or a global level. No day is too bad or too good to show love and support to those living with HIV/AIDS. Every day is another day to prevent an infection, to say no to the stigmatisation of *PLWHA. To you living with HIV/AIDS, every day is a chance to embrace the wonderful hope of life, remember you are not less valuable than any living being.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has had the same theme from 2011-2015: GETTING to ZERO:
(photos from aidsmap.com)
While we have not attained these goals, while it is so obvious that much work has to be done, we can all be part of “GETTING TO ZERO” in little ways that make tremendous effects: We can inform friends, colleagues, family members, little kids in our classrooms, older students, other adults on some myths, facts about HIV/AIDS. We can challenge ourselves and others to rethink certain HIV/AIDS stereotypes. We can organise quizzes to find out how much we and the people in our cycles know about HIV/AIDS, its statistics and what we can do to curb, eliminate this disease that has eaten into the fabric of our society and taken our loved ones away. We can hand out HIV/AIDS informative tracts or make a pledge to support someone living with HIV/AIDS, to abstain from having multiple sexual partners, taking precautions as an infected pregnant woman, sterilising properly, sharp instruments. As health care workers, we can be a part of this by practicing care and diligence in our place of work: in handling blood and body fluid samples, blood transfusions, organ transplants etc…
Some years ago, a wise man illustrated to me and a group of other teenagers. He said, “when you look in the mirror, the person you see is a potential person living with HIV”
Yeah, yeah, it did not sound so palatable. It did not sound so right and one of the first things a reader might say is “God forbid, it can never happen to me” I’d spare you all the long sermon and say that as a little girl then, what I learned is that I must take good care, I must not discriminate against anyone living with HIV/AIDS irrespective of how they got the disease.
Today, I have learned that in the fight against HIV/AIDS, everyone is involved and inasmuch as it is easier to dismiss “GETTING TO ZERO”, I BELIEVE that together, we CAN do this.
This is my Red Ribbon for tomorrow.
Spread the word, spread love.
I pray you all stay in health. Let me know if you’d be doing anything for the World AIDS Day or any other views you have.
*PLWHA: People Living With HIV/AIDS (pronounced as pla-wa)