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World AIDS Day takes place on 1 December every year. According to the National Aids Trust, a charity dedicated to “transforming the UK’s response to HIV”, the day is 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”. As part of World AIDS Day, United Nations (UN) agencies, governments and civil society work to campaign around specific themes related to AIDS, such as universal health coverage. In 2018, the theme is “know your status”, which encourages everyone to find out whether they have HIV or not.

World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day. It was established by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 1 December 1988, which called on United Nations’ member states to observe the occasion. Its annual observance was mandated by United Nations General Assembly resolution 43/15. In 2018, World AIDS Day is taking place under the theme “know your status”, which encourages everyone to find out whether they have HIV or not. According to the United Nation’s programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), “many barriers to HIV testing remain”. They include: stigma and discrimination, which “still deters” people from taking an HIV test; and access to confidential HIV testing, which UNAIDS contends is still an “issue of concern”. WHO reports that of the 36.9 million people infected with HIV globally, it is estimated that 75 percent of those people living with HIV “know their status”. AVERT, an organisation focused on HIV education, argues that it is important for those with HIV to know their status as it allows them to “get onto treatment and live a long and healthy life”. It also protects others around them by “reducing onwards transmission”.

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