Since 1988 the world has recognized December 1st as World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day is a time for us to raise awareness for HIV. It is a time to pause, reflect and pay tribute to the many lives lost to HIV/AIDS. It provides us with an opportunity to educate ourselves and others about the virus, how it is transmitted, how it is treated and how we can protect ourselves. It also raises awareness about the stigma that HIV still carries and by raising awareness we contribute to lessening the stigma attached to the virus.

Currently there are 71,000 Canadians living with HIV and an estimated 34 million worldwide, making HIV and AIDS one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

The theme for World AIDS Day is “Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths”. This is a theme that we can get behind; Calgary Sexual Health Centre ensures that all people who receive our education programs know how to protect themselves and their partners from HIV and other STI’s. We normalize testing for people to ensure that we are creating environments where people feel confident and comfortable addressing their sexual health.

We recognize there is much work to be done to get us to zero. There are new HIV infections diagnosed in Calgary every year and people living with HIV still experience stigma and discrimination. We all have a role to play if we want to get accomplish this goal. You can educate yourself about HIV; you can educate others in your life about HIV. You can treat people living with HIV with respect and dignity and without judgment. You can attend World AIDS Day events to raise awareness or you can donate to organizations that work to prevent HIV, or to those organizations that provide support to people already living with HIV. Today you can spend a moment in silence remembering all of the people who have lost their lives due to HIV/AIDS and you can sport a red ribbon to show everyone you stand in solidarity with everyone working to “get to zero”.

For more information about HIV and other services in Calgary:

Calgary Sexual Health Centre:

HIV Community Link:

SHARP Foundation:

To get tested: