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 (www.projectremember.ca).
- 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.
Over the years RHAC has celebrated World AIDS Day in many different ways, this year we will be:
- Launching our **Red Scarf Project at Evening of the Red Scarf - Tuesday, November 24, 5:30 p.m. Aeolian Hall, London (advance tickets for sale; feature performer, Justin Hines)
- This year, 2015, we also celebrate our amalgamation with the John Gordon Home - a Home with the Heart, now a transition and respite care home; originally Canada's first AIDS Hospice
- Red Scarf distribution in five counties throughout the week with the help of local Health Units
- Red Scarf distribution/event on World AIDS Day, noon Covent Garden Market, London
- World AIDS Day Vigil in Stratford, Monday, November 30th, 7:00 p.m.
- World AIDS Day Vigil in London, Tuesday, December 1st, 7:00 p.m. at Trinity United Church on Doulton Avenue
- RHAC Staff Vigil
- Special World AIDS Day articles and presentations in community
The Red Scarf Project is an awareness event, co-ordinated by Regional HIV/AIDS Connection, but made possible by the kindness and generosity of people in our communities who knit over 1000 red scarves! The scarves are distributed to other social service organizations and to members of the community in order to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. RHAC wishes to thank and acknowledge the hundreds of knitters for their kindness and generosity. We are very grateful.
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 stgma 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 Emily Marcoccia, Director of Community Relations or Meredith Fraser, Director of Education at Regional HIV/AIDS Connection 519.434.1601