World AIDS Day is on 1 December each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.
World AIDS Day is on 1 December each year. Last year approximately 36.9 million people are infected with HIV globally. Not everybody is equipped with the facts on how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a life-changing reality for people living with HIV.
We know that 1 in 5 people living with HIV say that they have needed help with loneliness. Nobody should feel isolated or alone because of their HIV status. Peer support services must be made available across the UK so that people can access the help they need, when they need it, and wherever they are.
Three-quarters of people living with HIV who report loneliness and isolation say they haven’t been able to find that help. We want to change that, and we know you do too.
World AIDS Day – Rock the Ribbon Together This World AIDS DAY
That’s why we’re asking you to Rock the Ribbon Together in 2019 – to stand in solidarity with people living with HIV, raise awareness, challenge stigma, end loneliness and isolation, and insist peer support is available for anyone who needs it.
“The stigma attached to HIV needs to change, as people are still incredibly naïve about it. I certainly haven’t told all my friends because I fear their reaction.” Kelly, 31
“Finding a friend with whom I can speak has helped me focus on the journey. HIV has made me more fearless. Now, I am ready to face anything else that is thrown my way.” John, 61
Will you join us in the fight this World AIDS Day? Will you stand with us in our mission to stop HIV-related stigma and end the loneliness and isolation many people living with HIV face? Of course you will!
There’s one simple thing you can do to show your support…
Rocking a red ribbon not only completes any outfit; it shows everyone – especially people living with HIV and their families – your support.
More information WORLD AIDS DAY 2019
WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM?
In 1991, a decade after the emergence of HIV, twelve artists gathered in a gallery in New York’s East Village. They had 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.
At the time, HIV was highly stigmatised, and the suffering of communities living with HIV remained largely hidden. The artists wanted to create a visual expression of compassion for people living with HIV.
They took inspiration from the yellow ribbons tied on trees to show support for the US military fighting in the Gulf War. Additionally, they decided that the elegant loop of the ribbon shape was easy to make and replicate. They avoided traditional colours associated with the gay community, such as pink and rainbow stripes, because they wanted to convey that HIV was relevant to everyone. They chose red for its boldness, and for its symbolic associations with passion, the heart and love.
HOW DID THE RIBBON BECOME SO WELL KNOWN?
In the early days, the artists made the ribbons themselves and distributed them around New York art galleries and theatres. Initially, they included some text to explain the ribbon’s significance, but as the ribbon became more famous, this was no longer needed.
Within weeks, the red ribbon could be seen in such high-profile places as the red carpet of the Oscars. The media took notice and, within a short space of time, the symbol became universally recognised. At the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, held at London’s Wembley Stadium on Easter Sunday, 1992, more than 100,000 red ribbons were distributed among the audience, with performers such as George Michael wearing one.
The red ribbon continues to be a powerful force in the efforts to increase public awareness of HIV. It has inspired other charities to utilise the symbol, such as the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon.