Twenty-eight years ago, on the 1st December 1988, the first dedication to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic, caused by the spread of HIV infection, and mourning the loss of those who have died of the disease, was held. Since then, the 1st December of each year was chosen as the day to publicise this campaign. Government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), individuals, and health officials around the world observe the day, often with education on AIDS prevention and control being the main focus of the day.
The idea of a World AIDS Day was first introduced in 1987 by two public health officials working in the World Health Organization. The two officials were James Bunn and Thomas Netter. The idea for a day dedicated to the problem of AIDS and HIV was approved by the then director of UNAIDS, Dr. Mann. Up until 1996, the day was organised by the World Health Organization (WHO). In 1996, a new organisation was formed under WHO to further promote and educate people about HIV/AIDS awareness. This new organisation was called the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, also called UNAIDS. Since 1996, UNAIDS has been responsible for organising the day and raising awareness among the masses about AIDS and HIV and the steps they can take to prevent it.
Here at CAST we give out monthly food parcels to communities around Durban such as Chesterville, Noodsberg, Kwadabeka, Mariannridge, Lamontville and the Inner City so that all those infected with this disease can have something to eat in order to take their pills. In communities like Chesterville, a support group is held every Tuesday where CAST volunteers provide meals and offer moral support.
World AIDS Day serves as a reminder of our social responsibility to help end this pandemic and care for the sickly in any way that we can.
Written by Noma Khumalo, CAST Staff Member