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World AIDS Day: How has it helped AIDS awareness?

Meagan Morris is an entertainment and lifestyle journalist living in New York City. In addition to SheKnows, Morris contributes to many publications including The New York Times, Yahoo! News, PopEater, NBC New York and Spinner. Follow he...

World AIDS Day: 23rd anniversary

World AIDS Day was established in 1987 to help bring money, awareness and research to the fight against HIV and AIDS. What has the day helped accomplished over the past 23 years? Read on!

World AIDS Day is Dec. 1

According to Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, over 33.3 million people are living with HIV and 2.5 million of those affected are children. What's worse? More than 2.6 million people around the world were newly infected with HIV and another 1.8 million people died from AIDS.

HIV and AIDS don't discriminate -- they affect everyone: rich, poor, fat, thin, gay or straight. That's why World AIDS day was established -- to help bring awareness and research to this deadly disease.

World AIDS Day origins

James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, two employees of the World Health Organization, first established world AIDS day in 1987. The UNAIDS took over World AIDS Day in 1996 and now focuses on educating the public year-round. However, World AIDS Day is still celebrated with themes to bring mass awareness to the disease.

Equal access to care

The World AIDS Day theme for 2010 is Universal Access and Human Rights -- meaning equal access to care and medication. Medical treatment is now available that can help HIV and AIDS sufferers life full and long lives. However, patients in Third World nations in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America are not able to get access to these medications on a simple basis, making it far more deadly in these poverty-stricken countries.

What can you do?

The biggest thing World AIDS Day organizers ask is that people spread awareness by practicing safe sex and wearing red ribbons. Donations to World AIDS Day-approved causes are also helpful.

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