World Aids Day 2018: Everything you need to know about the annual HIV awareness campaign

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World Aids Day 2018: Everything you need to know about the annual HIV awareness campaign

World Aids Day marks its 30th anniversary on 1 December.

The date has been observed by UN member states every year since 1988, a show of support for those currently living with HIV and a chance to remember those killed by Aids-related illnesses.

The recent release of the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody coincided with the 27th anniversary of the death of the band’s much-missed frontman Freddie Mercury in 1991, a timely reminder of the devastating impact of the disease.

An Indian NGO volunteer lights candles placed on the ground in the shape of a red ribbon during an awareness rally on the eve of World Aids Day in Agartala, the capital of the northeastern state of Tripura, on 30 November 2017 (Arindam Dey/AFP/Getty)

The virus was only identified in 1984, when it sparked a huge international scare and was wrongly assumed to only affect members of the LGBT+ community, but has already killed 35m people and infected 78m around the globe.

While significant scientific advances have been made over the last 34 years, sufferers continue to face stigma and discrimination as a result of ignorance about the nature of the condition.

In the UK, approximately 101,000 people currently suffer from HIV out of an estimated 36.9m worldwide, with 5,000 new cases diagnosed in Britain annually.

World Aids Day was first conceived of in August 1987 by World Health Organisation (WHO) publicists James W Bunn and Thomas Netter, but has been run by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) since 1996.

The Pope, the president of the United States and other world leaders all use the occasion to reaffirm their commitment to eradicating the disease, a goal the UN hopes to achieve by 2030.

The White House has proudly displayed a 28-foot red ribbon from its North Portico since 2007, stressing the Oval Office’s commitment to combating Aids in the wake of George W Bush introducing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), providing support for those afflicted around the world.

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1/18 World Aids Day – UK

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle take part in a discussion with HIV consultant doctor Laura Waters during their visit to the Terrence Higgins Trust World AIDS Day charity fair

Getty Images

2/18 World Aids Day – Brazil

Red balloons are released to mark the World AIDS Day in Sao Paulo

REUTERS

3/18 World Aids Day – France

A nurse takes blood for a HIV test for French President Emmanuel Macron as he visits the Delafontaine Hospital

Reuters

4/18 World Aids Day – India

A student displays his face and hand painted with messages in Chandigarh, India

REUTERS

5/18 World Aids Day – UK

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive at the Nottingham Contemporary to attend a Terrence Higgins Trust World AIDS Day charity fair, on their first official engagement together.

PA

6/18 World Aids Day – South Africa

Members of the 21 South African Infantry Battalion march to mark the World AIDS Day in Soweto

AP

7/18 World Aids Day – India

A childhas their face painted to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS on World AIDS day in Jammu

Rex Features

8/18 World Aids Day – Kenya

Free HIV testing booths are installed during the World AIDS Day event at University of Nairobi

AFP/Getty Images

9/18 World Aids Day – China

Students use candles to form a large ribbon at a primary school in China

REUTERS

10/18 World Aids Day – India

Commuters walk past a message on the World AIDS Day near Howrah Bridge, on the bank of river Ganges in Calcutta

EPA

11/18 World Aids Day – India

An volunteer lights candles placed on the ground in the shape of a red ribbon during an awareness rally on the eve of World Aids Day in Agartala

AFP/Getty Images

12/18 World Aids Day – China

Students of Yangzhou University Medical College standing in the shape of a red ribbon

VCG via Getty Images

13/18 World Aids Day – China

Students hold red ribbons at a high school in Hefei, Anhui province, China

REUTERS

14/18 World Aids Day – Mexico

The “Diana La Cazadora” monument is illuminated in red on the eve of World Aids Day in Mexico City

AFP/Getty Images

15/18 World Aids Day – India

Sand art on the Bay of Bengal Sea’s eastern coast beach at Puri. Sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik created the piece on the eve of World AIDs Day .

Rex Features

16/18 World Aids Day – India

People hold candles around a ribbon during a ceremony to create awareness about HIV/AIDS in Ahmedabad, India

REUTERS

17/18 World Aids Day – Ukraine

A woman has a HIV/AIDS blood test in a mobile laboratory in Ukraine

AP

18/18 World Aids Day – China

The two towers of the Global Harbor shopping mall in Shaghai are illuminated with huge red ribbons

Rex Features

1/18 World Aids Day – UK

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle take part in a discussion with HIV consultant doctor Laura Waters during their visit to the Terrence Higgins Trust World AIDS Day charity fair

Getty Images

2/18 World Aids Day – Brazil

Red balloons are released to mark the World AIDS Day in Sao Paulo

REUTERS

3/18 World Aids Day – France

A nurse takes blood for a HIV test for French President Emmanuel Macron as he visits the Delafontaine Hospital

Reuters

4/18 World Aids Day – India

A student displays his face and hand painted with messages in Chandigarh, India

REUTERS

5/18 World Aids Day – UK

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive at the Nottingham Contemporary to attend a Terrence Higgins Trust World AIDS Day charity fair, on their first official engagement together.

PA

6/18 World Aids Day – South Africa

Members of the 21 South African Infantry Battalion march to mark the World AIDS Day in Soweto

AP

7/18 World Aids Day – India

A childhas their face painted to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS on World AIDS day in Jammu

Rex Features

8/18 World Aids Day – Kenya

Free HIV testing booths are installed during the World AIDS Day event at University of Nairobi

AFP/Getty Images

9/18 World Aids Day – China

Students use candles to form a large ribbon at a primary school in China

REUTERS

10/18 World Aids Day – India

Commuters walk past a message on the World AIDS Day near Howrah Bridge, on the bank of river Ganges in Calcutta

EPA

11/18 World Aids Day – India

An volunteer lights candles placed on the ground in the shape of a red ribbon during an awareness rally on the eve of World Aids Day in Agartala

AFP/Getty Images

12/18 World Aids Day – China

Students of Yangzhou University Medical College standing in the shape of a red ribbon

VCG via Getty Images

13/18 World Aids Day – China

Students hold red ribbons at a high school in Hefei, Anhui province, China

REUTERS

14/18 World Aids Day – Mexico

The “Diana La Cazadora” monument is illuminated in red on the eve of World Aids Day in Mexico City

AFP/Getty Images

15/18 World Aids Day – India

Sand art on the Bay of Bengal Sea’s eastern coast beach at Puri. Sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik created the piece on the eve of World AIDs Day .

Rex Features

16/18 World Aids Day – India

People hold candles around a ribbon during a ceremony to create awareness about HIV/AIDS in Ahmedabad, India

REUTERS

17/18 World Aids Day – Ukraine

A woman has a HIV/AIDS blood test in a mobile laboratory in Ukraine

AP

18/18 World Aids Day – China

The two towers of the Global Harbor shopping mall in Shaghai are illuminated with huge red ribbons

Rex Features

Events taking place around the world last year included president Emmanuel Macron of France taking an HIV test at the Delafontaine Hospital in Saint-Denis, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visited Nottingham’s Terrence Higgins Trust while Mariah Carey headlined a concert in Los Angeles. Famous monuments were lit up with red lights in cities from Mexico City to Shanghai.

Every year UNAIDS, the WHO and a collection of grassroots NGOs agree on the theme for the day, drawing attention to different aspects of the condition.

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In 2018, that theme is “Know Your Status”, encouraging people to undergo medical testing to ascertain whether or not they have the virus and to ensure anyone with a positive diagnosis is put in touch with the quality care and prevention services they need.

Those wishing to show support for the cause in the UK on World Aids Day can make a donation to the National Aids Trust online or by buying a lapel ribbon online or in MAC Cosmetics stores and select branches of Morrisons and HSBC.

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