According to the decision of the World Health Organization, the World Day in Memory of People Who Died of AIDS is held all over the world every third Sunday of May. It was first organized in 1983 in San Francisco (USA) by a group of Americans who were personally affected by AIDS (or AIDS affected their loved ones).
In the 1980s, the number of new cases of HIV infection increased rapidly, incl. mortality from AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). AIDS is the last, most severe stage of HIV infection. There was no cure at that time.
World Remembrance Day is held with the purpose of remembering those who died of AIDS, expressing solidarity with people living with HIV, informing and mobilizing society and making people think that HIV infection can affect any of us.
In 2021, the World Day in Memory of People Who Died of AIDS is held under the motto “Live. Study. Be in love". The theme of the day emphasizes the importance of understanding all aspects of HIV infection that affect the life of each person and society as a whole, provides an opportunity to think about yourself and loved ones, honor the memory of those who died and do everything to understand people living with HIV.
The red ribbon is one of the signs of memory and solidarity with people affected by HIV. It was invented by the artist Frank Moore in 1991. On this day people attach red ribbons to their clothes.
There is a Remembrance Day’s tradition to sew quilts – commemorative canvases, patchwork paintings on fabric dedicated to the memory of loved ones. The first quilt was made in 1987 by the American Cleve Jones who dedicated it to people who died of AIDS.
According to world statistics, 32.7 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses over the entire observation period.
Currently, more than 22.8 thousand people with HIV-positive status live in the Republic of Belarus, 5,164 of them live in Minsk. Sexual transmission of HIV prevails in the country and amounts to 83.9% of cases. In Minsk, the share of sexual transmission accounts for 72.2%. Such a way of HIV transmission as parenteral – injection of narcotic substances – is relevant for the capital of our Republic: it accounts for 27.1%.
In Minsk, the largest number of cases is registered among people aged 25 to 49 years (80.5% of all cases). Every 7 out of 10 sick people are men. The socially prosperous population is involved in the epidemic: in the social structure of newly diagnosed HIV-positive people, about 66% are employed.
In the vast majority of cases, death from AIDS (the terminal stage of HIV infection) since an HIV-positive person hasn’t sought antiretroviral treatment on time.
Thanks to advances in modern medicine, HIV is no longer a death sentence. People living with HIV can live long and fulfilling lives by starting antiretroviral treatment on time and following all the doctor's instructions. Thanks to medications, the life quality of HIV-positive people is not different from the life quality of people without HIV.
Everyone should understand that only the person himself is the main link in maintaining his health and is responsible for protecting himself and other people from infection. Therefore, each person can contribute to the fight against the epidemic, protect themselves and their loved ones by passing timely testing and forming a responsible attitude towards their health.
The World Day in Memory of People Who Died of AIDS is another opportunity to demonstrate readiness and willingness to confront the further spread of HIV infection.