Everyone Should Know About World AIDS Day

How many people know about World AIDS Day? Three weeks ago, I didn't.

I'm a High School student and a communications intern at Firelight Foundation and I just learned that World AIDS Day, December 1st, is designed to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic and acknowledge those suffering and those who have passed because of AIDS. The day shows the international unity against AIDS and encourages progress.

It's hard to believe I didn't know about the day considering I recently bought a new student planner that marks all holidays and even days like "Tell a Joke Day" and "Cotton Candy Day," but there was no mention of World AIDS Day. With 34 million people living with HIV and AIDS around the world, and millions more affected by the impact of HIV and AIDS, how could I not know about this day?

This World AIDS Day theme is "getting to zero" because the goal is to get to a point where there are zero new HIV infections and zero AIDS related deaths.

Firelight contributes toward "getting to zero" by funding 122 grassroots organizations in sub-Saharan Africa who work in their community to combat the effects of HIV and AIDS on children and families. Organizations such as the Luapula Foundation in Zambia that has helped over 15,000 children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS to cope and succeed in school and who also work to stop HIV and AIDS in its tracks through testing and counseling. Last year they tested over 14,000 people. Earlier testing saves lives and is an important part of ending AIDS, and AIDS can end.

It occurred to me that I'm probably not the only one who hasn't heard about World AIDS Day so I decided to ask around at school. I asked everyone in my class if they knew when or what World AIDS Day is. The results were exactly what I thought they would be. No one knew about World AIDS Day.

So this World AIDS Day, let's spread the news. AIDS isn't gone and it can be so let's tell everyone about World AIDS Day and "get to zero."

I can think of 4 things you can do right now...

  1. Tell a friend about World AIDS Day.
  2. Download and set your profile picture to Firelight's World AIDS Day graphic and tell everyone What World AIDS Day means to you in your status update on December 1st. Download the graphics here.
  3. Make a donation to Firelight Foundation. Donate here.
  4. Wear red on Saturday, December 1st in honor of World AIDS Day.

There are so many more ideas, but what's important is that we're in this together. I'm asking everyone to join together and do something that signifies World AIDS Day. What will you do? Share your ideas on the Firelight Foundation Facebook page, upload your photos, and be sure to mark your calendar for DECEMBER 1st!

Together, let's get to zero.

Anya Barca-Hall is a youth-on-youth blogger and communications intern at Firelight Foundation.