World AIDS Day 2012: civic and church action

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is 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.

World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988.

Around 100,000 are currently living with HIV in the UK and globally an estimated 34 million people have HIV. More than 25 million people between 1981 and 2007 have died from the virus, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

Today, many scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. But despite this, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV.

World AIDS Day is important as it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

While many organisations are working on HIV, the World Council of Churches' work on HIV and AIDS (as part of its Health and Healing project) focuses on enhancing the competency of churches and related networks to deal with HIV.

The project challenges churches to include persons living with HIV in their lives, develops mechanisms for measuring churches' competencies in dealing with HIV, and encourages churches to adapt the model of the Ecumenical HIV/AIDS Initiative in Africa (EHAIA) in their own regions.

The global Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is also highly active on international AIDS and HIV work.

* More about World AIDS Day: http://www.worldaidsday.org/

* EAA: http://www.e-alliance.ch/

* WCC Health and Healing: http://www.oikoumene.org/en/programmes/justice-diakonia-and-responsibili...

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 England & Wales License. Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.