As the last month of 2016 approaches and we’ve had a chance to reflect on illnesses that many of us aren’t affected by, and on others that we know all too well, we find ourselves once again uniting to show support and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and commemorating those who have passed away under this illness. Although we’ve devoted days and months to raising awareness about various illnesses, World AIDS Day was the very first such holiday. On the 1st of December, 1988, this global health day was put in place to kick off a global health conscious campaign, setting the tone for healthy living up until today.
According to Worldaidsday.org, more than 34 million people are living with the virus, and, since it was identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have succumbed to either HIV or AIDS. This virus has become one of the most destructive pandemics in our history. Though awareness about HIV/AIDS is one of the most global significant health campaigns today, the virus still spreads at an unprecedented rate due to a still present ignorance about how contagious this disease is.
In South Africa, where less than half the population has access to employee medical aid plans or other medical aid schemes to provide the necessary medication, being diagnosed with this disease truly does change your life completely.
So, how do we take on World AIDS Day? We can come together to show solidarity with those who have been affected by the virus by recognising that this is a real global issue, combatting discrimination based on this disease, and motivating individuals to create a personal stake in the fight against HIV/AIDS. When we are unified against AIDS and we prioritise fighting against the virus, we can change the quality of life of so many individuals impacted by its destructive force.
Attend some of the events hosted nationally on the 1st of December or don a red ribbon to show your support.