Monday, December 1, 2008

World AIDS Day 20th Anniversary

Red Ribbon Awarenes Decoration from Toronto



20 years ago today, the World Health Organization declared December 1, 1988 the first World AIDS Day. This is a special day in which individuals and organizations unite globally to bring attention and awareness to the AIDS epidemic.

I remember the first World AIDS day and at that time HIV and AIDS was highly stigmatized and only associated with homosexual men or intravenous drug users. As a result of the ignorance and inaction surrounding the AIDS crisis, ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) formed in order to bring awareness to the epidemic - "ACT UP is a diverse, non-partisan group of individuals united in anger and committed to direct action to end the AIDS crisis. We advise and inform. We demonstrate. WE ARE NOT SILENT." ACT UP was the first HIV/AIDS awareness organization and it was definitely instrumental in paving the way for other HIV/AIDS awareness related organizations.

Governments and public authorities turned a blind eye to the AIDS crisis in 1988 and it is only now, 20 years after the fact, that this epidemic has started to be taken seriously. AIDS has touched all of our lives in one way or another, whether personally by losing a loved one or a friend or indirectly through the loss of an artist, musician, actor, celebrity, writer, poet, politician, or by anyone who has made a difference in the world and made it a better place on any level. Let's not forget all the people the world has lost to AIDS and let's educate, inform, and prevent any further unnecessary losses to this epidemic.

World AIDS Day

ACT UP

ACT UP Oral History Project

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