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World AIDS Day

A crowd of about 50 people attended the dedication ceremony for the AIDS Memorial of Snohomish County in December 2005 (Michael O’Leary / Herald file)

Organizations, communities, and individuals around the world observe World AIDS Day with events and activities on and around December 1 to honor all we have lost from AIDS and the millions who are living with HIV and AIDS around the world, and to raise awareness of this issue.

APSC + Lifelong World AIDS Day celebration on Dec. 1, 2021

In a difficult couple of years dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we see yet again how deadly diseases including HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 reveal persistent inequities across the United States and around the world. And yet again we know that we cannot win the fight against either disease without addressing gaps in access to health care and lifesaving treatment, as well as the often deadly impacts of stigma and systemic injustice.

In the U.S., Black and Latino communities bear the brunt of both HIV and COVID-19. In 2018 Black Americans accounted for 13% of the U.S. population, but 42% of new HIV diagnoses, and Latinos accounted for about one in four new HIV diagnoses. Looking at Black communities in the U.S., an amfAR study revealed how disproportionately Black counties in the U.S. are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This Year’s World AIDS Day Theme


This year’s theme for World AIDS Day is “World AIDS Day 35: Remember and Commit.” This annual event serves as a reminder of the global struggle to end HIV-related stigma, an opportunity to honor those we have lost, and a rallying cry to committing to working toward a day when HIV is no longer a public health threat.

The first World AIDS Day took place in 1988, providing a platform to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and honor the lives affected by the epidemic. This year marks the 35th commemoration of this important day. Over the past 35 years, there has been significant progress in addressing HIV/AIDS thanks to advancements in medical research, increased access to treatment and prevention, and a broader understanding of the virus.

You can read more about this year’s theme and its importance from Harold Phillips, MRP, Director, White House Office of National AIDS Policy, Admiral Rachel Levine, MD, Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services and Ambassador Dr. John Nkengasong, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Senior Bureau Official for Global Health Security and Diplomacy here.