December 1st, 2019, marked this year’s World AIDS Day. With roughly 37.9 million people living with AIDS worldwide, awareness about the condition, existing treatments, and safe sex practices are more critical than ever. The theme for this year is “Communities Make The Difference.” Here’s a profile of some of the memorable moments and steps that have been taken worldwide during this year’s events.
A significant part of World AIDS Day is just people sharing their stories about living with the disease or about people; they know that they have it. Here are some of the notable stories and visuals that have come out this year.
- The famous Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary, is illuminated red in honor of World AIDS Day. Several cities took a similar approach, explaining their local landmarks and buildings in the color that’s come to represent AIDS awareness.
- In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, over 20 panels of the city’s AIDS Memorial Quilt were displayed as a part of a free event. The names from the quilt, representing people who passed away from AIDS, were read, and a new panel was added.
- In Amsterdam, the Netherlands, a 3-D printed statue was unveiled from the Dutch AIDS Foundation. This sheds a tear every 40 seconds.
- Several cities and organizations are also carrying their events through the week to continue promoting AIDS awareness.
Major companies have both the brand reach and resources to make a major change in terms of raising awareness and helping the cause. Here are the steps different brands have taken to drive up support this year.
- Premium vodka brand Belvedere held over 90 musical events over three days for World’s AIDS Day. These events were designed to raise awareness for the global HIV education fund (RED).
- Condom brand Durex ran a social media campaign, donating condoms to AIDS and HIV charities in exchange for tweets using the #1share1condom hashtag.
- BOX Menswear partnered with the NAT (National AIDS Trust) to create exclusive new Red On Red briefs and Red On Red jockstraps. With every sale, you receive a red ribbon, and BOX will contribute a portion of the sale to the NAT.
Social Media Posts
Social media provides a powerful means for people to share their stories and raise support for this World AIDS Day. Here are some of the most notable examples.
- The official #WAD2019 and #WorldAIDSDay hashtags were promoted by the CDC to both dispense information as well as help local event organizers draw in interest.
- The hashtags #FightHIV and #StartTalkingHIV were designed to help individuals share their stories about the disease.
- Several celebrities took to social media to share their thoughts about the disease and their outreach on World AIDS Day. Some of the tweets read as follows:
Magic Johnson: “Today on World AIDS Day, I thank God for allowing me to be here and send prayers and comfort to the family and loved ones of those who lost their lives to HIV/AIDS. We should all be respectful of those living with HIV/AIDS and treat everyone with kindness.”
Charlize Theron: “12 years ago, I founded @CTAOP to invest in African youth and help them keep themselves safe from HIV/AIDS. Today, on #WorldAIDSDay, the fight is still as strong as ever, and we must not turn our backs on the 38 million people who are living with the virus.”
Elton John: On #WorldAIDSDay, we remember the 32 million friends, family, and those closest to our hearts lost to AIDS. Over 27 years ago, I founded @ejaf to do everything in my power to improve the lives of everyone living with #HIV. That mission continues to this day.
In the wake of this year’s World AIDS Day, it’s more important than ever to reiterate the importance of getting tested. You can be infected and not show any outward symptoms at first, leaving you and anyone you come into sexual contact with at risk. In addition, the rates of HIV/AIDS infection are far higher for gay and bisexual men, making testing particularly crucial for this community. Be sure to practice safe habits and be tested regularly.