Today marks World Aids Day, a commemoration that has been observed since 1988 as one of the global public health campaigns organized held by World Health Organization. Every year on 1st December, people congregate in different places with a renewed hope and determination of fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Education about abstinence, contraception and use of anti-retroviral treatments is imparted to the masses. Red ribbons are worn as a mark of solidarity in fighting the global pandemic.
HIV/AIDS is undoubtedly a toll on human existence with data showing that over 78 million have been infected since the virus was discovered in the 1980s. 35 million people have died of the pandemic. Though governments, NGOs and organizations have worked hard to sensitize people on HIV/AIDS awareness, statistics show that a lot still needs to be done. Recent evidence show that an estimated 1.9 million adults are infected with the scourge yearly. This translates to 5,700 adults infected daily with the highest percentage being recorded in the Sub Saharan Africa. This surely calls for more education to the masses, embracing of the AIDS ABCs (Abstinence, Be Faithful and Use Condoms).
The Red Ribbon
The red ribbon, which today is the universal mark for AIDS awareness was the brainchild of 12 artists who met in 1991 with the view to support AIDS victims fight stigma. The red ribbon was inspired by the yellow ribbons tied on trees to show support for the US during the Gulf War. Today, the red ribbon symbol has gained traction and become synonyms to the message, “Beware of HIV/AIDS”.