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World AIDS Day 2022: Date, History, Significance and Theme Explained

Dr Rohit Bhaskar
Dr Rohit Bhaskar
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World AIDS Day is an important event that takes place annually on the 1st of December. Since 1988, the day has been used to raise awareness about the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, to remember those who have lost their lives to the virus, and to honor those living with HIV/AIDS. 

This year, World AIDS Day 2022 will focus on the theme of “Equalize”. Learn all about this important day, from its history and significance to the reasons why it's so important to commemorate it each year, in this guide to World AIDS Day 2022. Discover what actions you can take to show your support and help in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Together, we can make a real difference and help to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Content List

What is World AIDS?

AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and can be transmitted through the use of contaminated syringe for medical purposes or shared activities such as injecting drugs into the bloodstream, sexual intercourse not protected through a condom or diaphragm, or from an infected mother to child during pregnancy, birth or through breastfeeding.

The History of World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day was first designated in August 1988 by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, to get some semblance of control over the pandemic that had claimed the lives of so many people. Both James W Bunn and Thomas Netter were public information officers for the AIDS Global Program of the World Health Organisation.

The Significance of World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day is significant to fight the stigma around it and focus on providing care and support for those who are already living with the disease. Like with most major public health issues, the HIV pandemic has only been presented with further challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

World AIDS Day 2022 Theme: “equalize”

The World AIDS Day theme for 2022 is “equalize”. According to UNAIDS, “The slogan is a call to action. It is a prompt for all of us to work for the proven practical actions needed to address inequalities and help end AIDS. These include - Increase availability, quality and suitability of services, for HIV treatment, testing and prevention, so that everyone is well-served. 

How to Participate in World AIDS Day 2022

World AIDS Day is an opportunity to show solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV worldwide. Most people do this by wearing an HIV awareness red ribbon on the day.

Resources for World AIDS Day 2022

Ways to Support People Living with HIV/AIDS

  • Listen. An HIV diagnosis can feel like the world has been turned upside-down. Listen to their concerns and fears, as well as their hopes for the future.
  • Educate yourself. If your partner has been diagnosed, you will need to take extra precautions to avoid getting HIV.
  • Remember that they are the same person as before the diagnosis. They will still enjoy the same activities and should eventually expect to have the same hopes for the future. Your life together can get back to virtually normal, especially if the person follows the treatment plan.
  • Help them take their medication as directed. This will ensure that HIV has a minimal impact on your lives.

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