December 1st is World AIDS Day, a global movement to unite people in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Since 1988, communities have stood together on World AIDS Day to show strength and solidarity against HIV stigma and to remember lives lost. In the UK, more than 105,000 people are living with HIV. Globally, an estimated 38 million people live with the virus. More than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS-related illnesses over the past 40 years, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
Medical advances mean people with HIV in the UK can expect a long and healthy life and that we have the tools to stop HIV transmissions for good. However, HIV continues to be highly stigmatised and misunderstood.
At Mildmay, we are well aware of the discrimination experienced even today by our patients and staff.
The red ribbon is the universal symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV. It was first devised in 1991 when twelve artists met to discuss a new project for Visual AIDS, a New York HIV-awareness arts organisation.
It was there that they came up with what would become one of the most recognised symbols of the decade: the red ribbon, worn to signify awareness and support for people living with HIV. The artists wanted to create a visual expression of compassion for people living with HIV and chose red for its boldness, and for its symbolic associations with passion, the heart and love.
In addition to wearing a red ribbon, donating to Mildmay and spreading awareness of issues affecting people living with HIV are just some of the ways to get involved this World AIDS Day.
We have come so far in HIV, but it’s not over.
The UK government has set a goal of ending HIV transmissions by 2030. This is possible, but not without a continued fight for political leadership, investment and a commitment to ending stigma and injustice. Read more about World AIDS Day here.
Original image credit: vecteezy.com