First Observance of World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day was first conceived in August 1987 by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, two public information officers for the Global Programme on AIDS at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Bunn and Netter took their idea to Dr. Jonathan Mann, Director of the Global Programme on AIDS (now known as UNAIDS). Dr. Mann liked the concept, approved it, and agreed with the recommendation that the first observance of World AIDS Day should be 1 December, 1988.

Bunn, a broadcast journalist on a leave-of-absence from his reporting duties at KPIX-TV in San Francisco, recommended the date of 1 December believing it would maximize coverage by western news media. Since 1988 was an election year in the U.S., Bunn suggested that media outlets would be weary of their post-election coverage and eager to find a fresh story to cover. Bunn and Netter determined that 1 December was long enough after the election and soon enough before the Christmas holidays that it was, in effect, a dead spot in the news calendar and thus perfect timing for World AIDS Day.

Started on 1st December 1988, World AIDS Day is about raising money, increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. The World AIDS Day theme for 2010 is 'Universal Access and Human Rights'. World AIDS Day is important in reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done.

According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.4 million people living with HIV, including 2.1 million children. During 2008 some 2.7 million people became newly infected with the virus and an estimated 2 million people died from AIDS. Around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35.

On October 27, 1988, the UN General Assembly officially recognized that the World Health Organization declared December 1, 1988, to be World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day has also been observed on this date each year since then.

On December 1, people around the globe commemorate World AIDS Day.

World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS. First held on December 1, 1988, World AIDS Day is about increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. World AIDS Day is important in reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done.