Week of November 27 – December 01, 2021
December 01, 2021 marks World AIDS Day. It is a day set aside each year to pause and reflect on the millions of people around the world whose lives have been affected by this devastating disease. It also represents an opportunity to recognize the efforts of thousands of individuals and organizations who work to prevent the spread of the disease, as well as those who provide treatment to sufferers of the disease. Furthermore, it also presents an opportunity to renew our commitment to fighting the epidemic.
World AIDS Day has a long history. It was first introduced by the World Health Organization (WHO) on December 01, 2021 and was a monumental event, as it was the first time that attention from around the world was focused for one day on the disease. It also signified the seriousness and breadth of HIV/AIDS globally. The Day has significantly grown since its first year and has become so large in some countries that it is extended to a whole week of events and activities.
Each year a theme is chosen for the Day. This year’s main theme is accountability because of the significance of 2006 in the AIDS response. Several important events took place this year including: the High Level Meeting on AIDS, held at the UN in New York, in June, which was the five year review of the Declaration of Commitment of AIDS; the five year review of the Abuja Declaration in Africa; the Toronto AIDS Conference; and the five year anniversary of when the Doha Declaration was signed on access to generic drugs. This year also marked the 10 years of UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) and 25 years of AIDS as a disease.
Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), is a substantial supporter of UNAIDS, funding close to four per cent of UNAIDS total annual budget. For 2006 and 2007, Canada’s annual contribution increased from $5.4 million to $7.6 million. In addition, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada signed a new formal partnership arrangement with UNAIDS. The goals of this initiative include: preventing the acquisition and transmission of new infections; slowing the progression of the disease and improving quality of life; reducing the social and economic impact of HIV/AIDS; and contributing to the global effort to reduce the spread of HIV and mitigating the impact of the disease.
Accountability is crucial to the ongoing battle against AIDS because there is agreement on what has worked in this battle and the need to determine why programmes which work have not been adopted in light of Universal Access and country target setting. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) around the world agree that the world must be informed on the disease and that all leaders are aware that they are being watched by both the public and civil society and those promises must be honoured.
Individuals can become involved in World AIDS Day in many different ways. The World AIDS Campaign website has a calendar of events, where organizations have posted their planned activities to recognize the Day. You can also contact local AIDS organizations in our community to find out what will be planned locally and offer your support.
We must work together to collectively reaffirm to do whatever we can to stop the spread of this epidemic and World AIDS Day is an important part of accomplishing this goal.