World AIds Day – December 1, 2010 What is it and what to do?

What is World AIDS Day?

World AIDS Day, observed on 1 December each year, is an important opportunity when governments, national AIDS programs, faith organizations, community organizations, and individuals around the world bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic and emphasize the critical need for a committed, meaningful and sustained response.

The global theme for 2009 and 2010 World AIDS Day is “Universal Access and Human Rights”, as chosen by The World AIDS Campaign. This theme encourages us to deepen understanding, develop partnerships and challenge discriminatory laws, policies and practices that stand in the way of access for all to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. Faith-based organizations have a special responsibility to work to promote human dignity and respect and to protect the human rights of people living with or affected by HIV and those who are vulnerable to infection.

What can I do for World AIDS Day 2010?

Join in worship – A special worship service for the 2010 World AIDS Day will available on this webpage as of mid-October. The liturgy will focus on the importance of linking HIV and food issues as part of efforts to achieve Universal Access and human rights. You can read more about these linkages here. If you or your church develop additional worship resources for World AIDS Day, particularly using the global theme, please send them to us to share with others. Email us.

Hold a ‘Lights for Rights’ event – ‘Lights For Rights’ strives to underscore 2010’s focus on HIV and human rights by encouraging people in cities around the world to dim the lights on key landmarks to remember the devastating affect AIDS has had on us all, and to turn back on the lights to illuminate the fundamental rights we all share. You can download a toolkit with ideas from theWorld AIDS Campaign and visit the main ‘Lights for Right’ website.

Raise further awareness in your community by:

  • Downloading and displaying the World AIDS Campaign posters at your office, church or on other public bulletin boards.
  • Finding out what your church has said about HIV and AIDS and human rights, and asking church leaders what they have done to follow up on their statements.
  • Linking up to other events around World AIDS Day, particularly by working with and supporting networks of people living with HIV.
  • Wearing a red ribbon and asking others to do the same.
  • Visiting political leaders or writing to them to make sure that they are keeping to commitments they have made in response to HIV.
  • Getting tested for HIV. It is important for all of us to know our status, so that we can make informed decisions that affect our own health and that of the people we love. Seek out and promote good counseling and confidential testing. This is also an important way for religious and community leaders to break down the stigma often associated with HIV and testing.

Publicize your actions locally and globally – World AIDS Day is one of the most recognized international health days and a key opportunity to raise further awareness in communities and across the world about the state of the pandemic, and critical next steps that must be taken to halt its spread. Why not invite local media representatives to attend your event? Adding an entry to the World AIDS Day events calendar can also help to publicize and raise awareness about your work.

World AIDS Day can be a launch-pad for further action on HIV and AIDS in your community. Upcoming opportunities for action include:

  • Encouraging spiritual reflection of HIV and AIDS by emailing the EAA’s daily online Advent Calendar to your friends and colleagues over the coming festive season
  • Learning about government commitments to achieve Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support and how you can join in civil society efforts to ensure that effective targets are made and kept, particularly in the run-up to the UNGASS review in June 2011
  • Challenging religious leaders in your community to “stronger, more visible and practical leadership in the response to HIV”, for example by signing and acting up the personal commitment ‘Together We Can Do More’. Find out more at
  • Reading the EAA’s ‘Live the Promise’ Campaign Framework and discussing with your church or community how you could support efforts to achieve its four main goals
  • Holding a series of discussions on HIV prevention in your church community. Some helpful EAA publications can be found here.

Many other resources  for worship, study, and action are available.

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