World AIDS Day was first recognized in 1988, following a meeting of global health ministers in London, England. At that time the goals of World AIDS Day were twofold - to emphasize the significance, scope and impact of the pandemic and to highlight national responsibilities regarding the provision of universal, accessible and equitable treatment, care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS (www.catie.ca).
AIDS Awareness Week was first recognized in Canada in 1984 by ACT (AIDS Committee of Toronto); this awareness-raising opportunity was subsequently taken up in other regions of the province and eventually became recognized nation-wide.
- AIDS Awareness Week is held during the last week of November
- World AIDS Day is recognized on December 1
- Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week is observed during the first week of December
Today, AIDS Awareness Week, World AIDS Day, and Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week continue to provide opportunities to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and its impacts; to remember, honour and celebrate those who we have lost due to HIV/AIDS; to reflect on what we have achieved – both locally and globally – in our efforts to counter the negative impacts of HIV/AIDS; and support education and prevention activities that seek to counter stigma and discrimination that target people who are living with, affected by or at-risk of HIV/AIDS. For a list of other AIDS Awareness days celebrated throughout the year visit HIV Gov AIDS Awareness Days.
Red Scarf is a movement bringing community together to raise real awareness and knowledge about the positive advances in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention. Red Scarf stands against stigma to improve the lives of those living with, affected by and at risk for HIV/AIDS in our community.
Red Scarf started in 2012 at Regional HIV/AIDS Connection. Since then, community members have crafted and donated over 7,000 handmade scarves for HIV/AIDS awareness. Like the red ribbon, the red scarf is a symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV/AIDS. Getting red scarves into the community ahead of World AIDS Day includes our knitting project, red scarf pop-ups, benefit concert, and World AIDS Day vigils.
Please join us as we remember the lives lost and changed by HIV/AIDS over the last 30 years by celebrating World AIDS Day on December 1st at our vigil. Please see our events calendar for vigils in London and Stratford.
Throughout the year, RHAC staff works diligently to help educate people about HIV and its impact both locally and globally, and to help reduce the stigma that affects for many of us living with the virus. On World AIDS Day, RHAC creates specific projects, events and activites to promote awareness of HIV, and to remember that HIV still affects over 34 million people worldwide.
For more information on how you can participate in World AIDS Day activities, please contact Martin Mcintosh, Director of Community Relations or Meredith Fraser, Director of Education at Regional HIV/AIDS Connection 519.434.1601