Currently, over 34 million people around the world have HIV or AIDS. Additionally, 8,000 people worldwide die from AIDS every day, according to the World AIDS Day Web site, http://www.worldaidsday.org
“”Figures like these make it seem like AIDS is winning,”” the site states. “”But all over the world, people like you are making a difference.””
World AIDS Day, one of the most effective events that takes place in hopes of making a difference against AIDS, is held annually on Dec. 1.
The day is dedicated to educating people about HIV and AIDS and recognizing those individuals who have either died from the disease or are still living with it. The event continues to be the only coordinated international day of action against HIV and AIDS.
The origins of World AIDS Day trace back to January of 1988, when the World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programs for AIDS Prevention made a request to open channels of communication, strengthen the exchange of experience and information, and forge a spirit of social tolerance.
The organization wanted a more honest way of dealing with the newfound AIDS epidemic and has succeeded in this over the last 12 years.
The proof is this: Since its inception, World AIDS Day has received the patronage of the United Nations and the World Health Assembly, as well as innumerable other countries, governments and individuals.
Themes Throughout the Year
World AIDS Day has a particular theme for each year. “”Communication”” was the theme for its first year in 1988. Since then, more specific themes have been developed. In 1999, the theme, “”Listen, Learn, Live: World AIDS Campaign with Children and Young People,”” stressed the importance of educating young adults on the dangers of AIDS.
This year, the theme is “”AIDS: Men Make a Difference.””
According to the World AIDS Day Web site, over 70 percent of HIV infections worldwide occur through sex between men and women, and a further 10 percent through sex between men. Additionally, another 5 percent occur among people who inject drugs, 80 percent of whom are men. The World AIDS Day campaign hopes that by bringing attention to men’s roles in infection, awareness will be increased and, they feel, this may be the surest way to fight the AIDS epidemic.
Student Health Advocates
World AIDS Day will be observed at UCSD on Thursday. The event is being coordinated by Debbie Pino-Saballett, the outreach coordinator for Student Health Services.
“”It’s such an important event and virtually every student knows somebody who has been affected by HIV,”” Pino-Saballett said. “”It’s a way for them to take an hour to show their support for continued HIV research for those who have died as well as for those living with HIV.””
According to UCSD’s Student Health News, Student Health Advocates is a program that provides students with special training as clinic aides and peer educators. One of their many duties on campus is to provide sexual health information to the UCSD community. They accomplish this in various ways, including information sessions and programs on contraception and sexually transmitted disease prevention.
Pino-Saballet feels that an event like World AIDS Day is extremely relevant to college students’ lives.
“”For one thing, the majority of people affected by HIV are in the college-age population,”” Pino-Saballett said. “”The purpose of World AIDS Day is to acknowledge people who have died of AIDS and to increase awareness of HIV.””
UCSD’s events for World AIDS Day will be held in the Price Center and on Library Walk on Nov. 30. Pino-Saballett said the events will take place a day early because they feared that a later date would bring about a lower turnout. With finals so close, organizers felt that Thursday would be better than Friday to maximize student participation.
Activities begin at 9 a.m., starting with the AIDS Quilt on the Price Center lawn. (In case of rain, this event will take place in Galleries A and B.) Students can view the quilt until 3 p.m.
From 11 a.m. to noon in the Price Center plaza, there will be a panel of speakers who are infected with HIV. Students will hear testimonials from these speakers and have the opportunity to ask questions about AIDS and HIV. Those in attendance will also receive a free “”condom rose.””
From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will be an HIV and AIDS resource fair on Library Walk. Students will be able to view art and poetry by children living with HIV. Temporary tattoos and free condom roses will also be available.
Other events will take place throughout the week at the Cross Cultural Center. The art and poetry will be on display in the gallery. In addition, an HIV- and AIDS- related movie will be shown at the Cross Cultural Center on Nov. 30 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
World AIDS Day is co-sponsored by the A.S. Council and is a joint program by the Cross Cultural Center, the Women’s Center, the AIDS Research Institute, Student Health Services and Student Health Advocates.
For more information regarding World AIDS Day at UCSD, contact Student Health Services at (858) 534-8089 or go to its Web site, http://www.ucsd.edu/shs/
For more information on World AIDS Day in general, visit it’s Web site at http://www.worldaidsday.org/