World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day takes place on the 1st of December each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day. This year is the 30th Anniversary 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 on 1 December 1988. Bunn, a former television broadcast journalist from San Francisco, had recommended the date of 1 December that believing it would maximize coverage of World AIDS Day by western news media, sufficiently long following the US elections but before the Christmas holidays.

As of 2017, AIDS has killed between 28.9 million and 41.5 million people worldwide, and an estimated 36.7 million people are living with HIV, making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history. Thanks to recent improved access to antiretroviral treatment in many regions of the world, the death rate from AIDS-related causes has decreased since its peak in 2005.

There are approximately 30,000 North Carolinians living with HIV, 2,000 of which live in the 18 counties served by the Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP). Around 1 in 7 people are living with HIV and not aware of their status.

In the US, the White House began marking World AIDS Day with the iconic display of a 28 foot (8.5 m) AIDS Ribbon on the building’s North Portico in 2007. Since 1993, the President of the United States has made an official proclamation for World AIDS Day.

WNCAP is celebrating World AIDS Day with a day of prevention, advocacy, and free food. WNCAP is hosting a complimentary luncheon at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Asheville. Our featured speaker is Mike Smith, Co-Founder of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. He will discuss the past, present, and future of the HIV Advocacy Movement from his unique perspective.

The event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required because spaces are limited. Please contact Randy Rodriguez at or (828) 252-7489 ext. 313 to reserve your spot.

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2 thoughts on “World AIDS Day

  1. And, we’re proud to be hosting an event for the public at the library with the Franklin WNCAP office later this month-

    Fri. Dec. 7th 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. in the Macon County Public Library Meeting Room- Western NC AIDS Project Documentary Viewing: “Wilhemina’s War” and Testing Services
    Western North Carolina AIDS Project will be providing refreshments for the viewing of ‘Wilhemina’s War’. This is the story of a grandmother that fights for her family. Wilhemina’s family struggles to survive and live fulfilled lives with HIV and AIDS in rural South Carolina. The documentary follows Wilhemina and her family over the course of five years.
    WNCAP will also provide free, private Hepatitis C and HIV testing during the event.


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