About World AIDS Day

What is World AIDS Day?

World AIDS Day is an international day that began in 1988. It’s held on 1 December each year to help raise awareness about HIV and AIDS.  

United Nations AIDS (UNAIDS) is the international body leading the global effort to end HIV/AIDS. From its creation in 1988, UNAIDS led the annual campaign for World AIDS Day until 2004.  

From 2004, the World AIDS Campaign’s Global Steering Committee has selected the annual international World AIDS Day theme. Countries may also set a national World AIDS Day theme. 

In Australia, it is a day for the community to: 

  • show their support for people living with HIV

  • raise awareness about prevention, treatment and care 

  • eliminate stigma and discrimination around HIV 

  • remember people who have died of AIDS-related illnesses. 

Why World AIDS Day is important

World AIDS Day raises awareness of HIV and AIDS in our community and across the world. It reminds us that HIV is still a global epidemic.  

In Australia there are an estimated 29,460 people living with HIV (2021). Worldwide, there are 39 million people living with this virus. More than 35 million people have died of AIDS-related illness around the world.  

World AIDS Day is a way to honour them. 

Today in Australia: 

  • People living with HIV can get medication that allows them to live a healthy, long life.  

  • People living with HIV who take antiretroviral treatment can supress their viral load and have no risk of transmitting the infection to a sexual partner.  

  • People can take preventive medication that removes the risk of getting HIV through sexual activity.  

  • People can quickly access medications that prevents HIV infection if exposed to the virus.  

  • We have safer-sex initiatives and programs to reduce the risk of harm from injecting drugs.  

But not everyone knows this.  

World AIDS Day is a way to increase awareness and make our collective future better. 

Learn more about how World AIDS Day events help.

This year's theme

In 2023 the Australian theme is ‘Inclusion. Respect. Equity.’ 

How to get involved

There are many ways to get involved in World AIDS Day. You can:  

Find out more about World AIDS Day events

Who is involved?

Many organisations, groups and individuals take part in World AIDS Day. These include: 

  • our partner organisations 

  • organisations of people living with HIV 

  • not-for-profit organisations and community groups 

  • LGBTIQA+ groups 

  • medical practitioners 

  • government agencies 

  • you – supporters and volunteers of World AIDS Day. 

They are many ways to get involved. You can also contact your state or territory coordinator for more information.  

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  • General information