1 December 2015
The HIV/AIDS pandemic is one of the biggest and most devastating global public health issues ever recorded by humanity. Todate, this pandemic has claimed more than 36 million people worldwide with about 2 million lives being lost each year. It is for this reason that the World Health Organisation (WHO) set 1st December aside to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
All the World AIDS Day campaigns focus on a specific theme chosen following consultations with UNAIDS, WHO and a large number of grassroots, national and international agencies involved in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.This day therefore provides an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died from this disease.
In the Free State province, in a town called Clarens, great importance is attached to this day. Each year, the Clarens community on this day organises events to increase awareness, fight stigma, improve education, mobilise resources and raise funds for the global and local response to HIV and AIDS.
Some of the events hosted on this day include town hall meetings to talk about the impact of HIV/AIDS, news conferences with elected officials to raise awareness, cultural and faith based events, free HIV testing centres, health fairs to educate people about HIV/AIDS, etc.
During this day and through these events, people get tested for HIV, talk with healthcare providers about the risks of HIV, talk about HIV prevention with family, friends and colleagues, discuss the epidemics impact on local community or even volunteering at a local organisation that serves people living with HIV.
1st December is certainly a date to mark on your calendar every year as you join the global community.