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Article / Review by on December 1, 2011 – 7:50 pmNo Comments


 World AIDS Day 2011 banner

Backed by the United Nations, the “Getting to Zero” campaign runs until 2015 and builds on last year’s successful World AIDS Day “Light for Rights” initiative encompassing a range of vital issues identified by key affected populations.

The global HIV response is at a pivotal moment, where huge strides forward are at serious risk and current approaches are reaching their limits. Only one third of the 15 million people living with HIV and in need of life-long treatment are receiving it. New infections continue to outpace the number of people starting treatment, while the upward trend in resources suffered a serious downturn this year.

Zero New HIV Infections” and “Zero Discrimination” are equally as likely to spark high impact events from small scale community vigils to nation wide events using the universally recognized shape of zeros and the power of light to get life and death issues the attention they deserve.

For December 1st 2011 right up until 2015 it’s envisioned that different regions and groups will each year chose one or all of the Zeros that best addresses their situation.

The decision to go with the millennium development related goal of “Getting to Zero” comes after extensive discussions among people living with HIV, health activists, broader civil society and many others – more than a hundred organizations in all.

The vision for this year’s World AIDS Day and beyond may be aspirational, but the journey towards its attainment is laid with concrete milestones.

10 goals for 2015

  • Sexual transmission of HIV reduced by half, including among young people, men who have sex with men and transmission in the context of sex work;
  • Vertical transmission of HIV eliminated and AIDS-related maternal deaths reduced by half;
  • All new HIV infections prevented among people who use drugs;
  • Universal access to antiretroviral therapy for people living with HIV who are eligible for treatment;
  • TB deaths among people living with HIV reduced by half;
  • All people living with HIV and households affected by HIV are addressed in all national social protection strategies and have access to essential care and support;
  • Countries with punitive laws and practices around HIV transmission, sex work, drug use or homosexuality that block effective responses reduced by half;
  • HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay and residence eliminated in half of the countries that have such restrictions;
  • HIV-specific needs of women and girls are addressed in at least half of all national HIV responses;
  • Zero tolerance for gender-based violence.

 World AIDS Day 2011 banner


World AIDS Day is celebrated around the world on December 1st each year. It has become one of the most recognized international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories, such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.

UNAIDS took the lead on campaigning for World AIDS Day from its creation until 2004. From 2004 onwards the World AIDS Campaign’s Global Steering Committee began selecting a theme for World AIDS Day in consultation with civil society, organisations and government agencies involved in the AIDS response.

Themes run for one or two years and are not just specific to World AIDS Day. Campaigning slogans such as ‘Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise’ have been used year-round to hold governments accountable for their HIV and AIDS related commitments.

 World AIDS Day 2011 banner


World AIDS Day Timeline : 1988 – 2010


  • International AIDS Society Formed
  • 4th International AIDS Conference Takes Place in Stockholm, Sweden


World AIDS Day Theme: Our Lives, Our World – Let’s Take Care of Each Other

  • 5th International AIDS Conference Takes Place in Montreal, Canada (The Scientific and Social Challenge of AIDS)
  • US Congress creates National Commission on AIDS



World AIDS Day Theme: Women and AIDS

  • 6th International AIDS Conference (AIDS in the Nineties: From Science to Policy”) in San Francisco, CA. To protest US immigration policy, domestic and International non-government groups boycott the conference.
  • According to estimates, around 8 million people are now living with HIV worldwide (UNAIDS)


World AIDS Day Theme: Sharing the Challenge

  • Thailand launches Asia’s most extensive HIV prevention programme –
  • The Red Ribbon becomes the international symbol for HIV –introduced at the Tony Awards by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Visual AIDS in the US.
  • ICASO forms as global network of NGO and community-based organisations
  • 7th International AIDS Conference (Science Challenging AIDS) Florence, Italy
  • Ten million people around the world are HIV positive.


World AIDS Day Theme: AIDS: Community Commitment

  • 8th International AIDS Conference (A World United Against AIDS) Amsterdam – was supposed to take place in Boston, but moved due to US immigration ban
  • International Community for Women Living with HIV/AIDS founded (ICW) (the Global Network of People living with HIV /AIDS , GNP+ was founded in 1986)


World AIDS Day Theme: “Time to Act”


World AIDS Day Theme: AIDS and the Family

  • Scientist develop the first treatment regime to reduce mother-to-child transmission
  • Infant HIV infections begin to fall in developed countries, due to use of AZT
  • WHO estimates that at least 19.5 million people worldwide have become HIV-infected since the beginning of the epidemic
  • 10th International AIDS Conference (The Global Challenge of AIDS: Together for the Future) Yokohama Japan


World AIDS Day Theme: Shared Rights, Shared Responsibilities

  • Outbreak of HIV amongst injecting drug users in Eastern Europe
  • First combination therapy – HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) is approved for use in the US


World AIDS Day Theme: One World. One Hope

  • Combination therapy shown to be highlight effective – in developed countries many people begin taking the treatment
  • The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is launched in January 2006 – established to advocate for global action on the epidemic and to coordinate HIV/AIDS efforts across the UN system and sets the international theme of World AIDS Day. UNAIDS was originally cosponsored by 6 U.N. agencies (now 10), with a mandate to lead an expanded, better-coordinated, multi-sectoral global response.
  • 11th International AIDS Conference, Vancouver, Canada (One World. One Hope)


World AIDS Day Theme: Children Living in a World with AIDS

  • World AIDS Campaign is launched, managed by UNAIDS to focus on raising public awareness on specific issues related to HIV and AIDS and is tasked with choosing the international theme of WAD
  • AIDS deaths begin to decline in developed countries, due to the new drugs
  • In other developing countries, only a tiny minority can access treatment to HIV
  • Around 22 million people are living with HIV worldwide (UNAIDS)
  • Brazil begins national ARV distribution, first developing country to do so


World AIDS Day Theme: Force for Change: World AIDS Campaign With Young People

  • 12th International AIDS Conference (Bridging the Gap) Geneva, Switzerland
  • Despite earlier optimism several reports indicate growing signs of treatment failure and side effects from HAART
  • Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) forms in South Africa, grassroots movement pushes for access to treatment


World AIDS Day Theme: Listen, Learn, Live! World AIDS Campaign with Children & Young People

  • President Clinton announces “Leadership and Investment in Fighting an Epidemic” (LIFE) initiative to address the global epidemic – leads to increased funding
  • The first efficacy trial of a potential HIV vaccine in a developing country starts in Thailand
  • AIDS becomes the fourth biggest killer worldwide
  • By the end of the decade 90% of people infected by HIV live in the developing world


World AIDS Day Theme: AIDS: Men Make a Difference

  • The UN Security Council discusses HIV/AIDS for the first time
  • One million Africans newly infected with HIV in 2000
  • 13th International AIDS Conference (Breaking the Silence) Durban, South Africa – first to be held in global South, heightens awareness of global pandemic – Nkosi Johnson, an 11 year-old South African boy speaks live on TV during the conference
  • G8 leaders acknowledge need for additional HIV/AIDS resources during Okinawa Meeting
  • UNAIDS, WHO and other global health groups announce joint initiative with five major pharmaceutical manufacturers to negotiate reduced prices for AIDS drugs in developing countries
  • At the United Nations Millennium Summit, world leaders agreed to an ambitious agenda to reduce poverty and improve lives and as a result outlined eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), each with their own targets to monitor social, economic and environmental progress. Goal 6 is to halt and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS and the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.


World AIDS Day Theme: Men Make a Difference: “I care. Do you?”

  • United Nations General Assembly convenes first ever special session on AIDS (UNGASS) – where the Declaration of Commitment is signed by 189 member states .By signing the Declaration of Commitment, countries agreed to time-bound commitments and a regular process to review their progress in meeting those commitments.
  • 62 young people representing 26 countries present a Youth Position Paper calling on world leaders to address the most critical youth-related issues left out of the Declaration of Commitment
  • 5 June 2001 is the 20 year marker since the first AIDS case was reported
  • African Summit on HIV/AIDS in Abuja, Nigeria (The Abuja Summit) takes place with the goal of urgently arresting and reversing the morbidity and mortality rates due to HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, and to set clear targets for the effective control of these three diseases.
  • The World Trade Organisation meeting in Doha, Qatar announces “DOHA Agreement” to allow developing countries to buy or manufacture generic medications
  • Generic drug manufacturers offer to produce discounted generic forms on HIV/AIDS drugs – several major pharmaceutical manufacturers agree to offer further reduced drugs prices to developing countries


World AIDS Day Theme: Live and Let Live: Stigma and Discrimination

  • The Global Fund is launched to boost the response to AIDS, TB and malaria – approves first round of grants
  • Botswana begins Africa’s first national AIDS treatment programme
  • UNAIDS reports that women make up about half of all adults living with HIV/AIDS worldwide
  • HIV leading cause of death worldwide, amongst 15 – 59 year olds
  • 14th International AIDS Conference – Knowledge and Commitment – Barcelona


World AIDS Day Theme: Live and Let Live: Stigma and Discrimination

  • President Bush announces PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) – PEPFAR is a five-year 15 billion dollar initiative to address HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria
  • 3 by 5 initiative announced by WHO with goal of bringing treatment to 3 million people by 2005.
  • G8 Summit in Evian includes special focus on HIV/AIDS, new commitments to the Global Fund announced.


World AIDS Day Theme: ‘Have you heard me today? Women, Girls, HIV and AIDS

  • World AIDS Campaign becomes an independent NGO, based in the Netherlands
  • 15th International AIDS Conference (Access for All) Bangkok, Thailand, first to be held in Southeast Asia
  • The Global Fund holds first ever “Partnership Forum” in Bangkok, 400 delegates participate
  • Leaders of the G8 call for the creation of the “Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise” – consortium of government and private sector groups designed to coordinate and accelerate research efforts to find and effective HIV vaccine
  • PEPFAR begins first round of funding
  • UNAIDS launches The Global Coalition of Women and AIDS
  • South Africa begins to provide free antiretroviral treatment


World AIDS Day Theme: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise

  • AIDS Walk New York, marks its 20th year and raises $5.8 million – it is the world’s largest private AIDS fundraising event
  • G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland – G8 leaders pledged “to develop and implement a package for HIV prevention, treatment and care, with the aim of as close as possible to universal access to treatment for all those who need it by 2010.
  • World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos includes a priority focus on addressing HIV/AIDS in Africa and other hard hit regions of the world
  • About 1.3 million people in developing countries have access to treatment


World AIDS Day Theme: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Accountability

  • 5 June marks the 25th anniversary of the first reported AIDS case
  • UN convenes follow up meeting and issues progress report on the implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS where the political declaration from this meeting agrees to: “the urgent need to scale up significantly towards the goal of universal access to comprehensive prevention programmes, treatment, care and support by 2010…”
  • 16th International AIDS Conference focuses on accountability: Time to Deliver in Toronto
  • First Eastern European and Central Asian AIDS conference held in Moscow (EECAAC)
  • African Summit on AIDS Malaria and TB (ABUJA +5) reviews the progress made in achieving the targets agreed upon at the previous Abuja Summits
  • Annual global spending on AIDS in low and middle-income countries is $8.9 million – it is estimated that $14.9 billion would be needed for a truly effective response
  • 5th year anniversary of Doha agreement – despite the 5 year anniversary, medicines continue to be priced exorbitantly high – some countries use new bilateral and regional trade agreements specifically to remove these flexibilities.


World AIDS Day Theme: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Leadership “Take the Lead”

  • International HIV/AIDS Implementers Meeting held in Kigali, hosted by the Rwandan government draws over 1,500 delegates to share lessons on HIV, prevention, treatment and care. Co-sponsors include PEPfar, Global Fund, UNAIDS, WHO , UNICEF, the World Bank and GNP+
  • Apx. 33 million people are living with HIV
  • As of 2007, nearly all countries have national policies on HIV.
  • 31% of those in low- to middle-income countries who need treatment received it.
  • Despite HIV awareness now reaching nearly all areas of the globe, infection rates are still happening 2.7 times faster than the increase in number of people receiving treatment.
  • Civil Society efforts bring attention to Novartis court case in India over patent laws. In 2007, Novartis loses a case in an Indian court, stopping possible profound implications for the production of generic drugs


World AIDS Day Theme: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Leadership “Lead-Empower-Deliver”

  • PEPFAR funding is renewed in July for 2009-2013
  • 17th International AIDS Conference takes place in Mexico focusing on science, accountability and stigma and discrimination
  • UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic notes signs of major progress in the global AIDS response for the first time


World AIDS Day Theme: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Universal Access and Human Right

  • India repeals section 377 of the penal code which had banned homosexuality
  • Newly inaugurated US President Obama changes rules that had prevented funding reaching organisations that provide services linked with abortion
  • UNAIDS epidemic update signals improvements in overall infection rates, survivability and availability of HIV drugs but warned that the crisis is not over
  • The global financial crisis, coupled with a general falling off of interest, manifests issues for funders and campaigners alike
  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon launches Light for Rights, a joint initiative by amfAR, Broadway Cares, UNAIDS and the World AIDS Campaign, in New York City on World AIDS Day


World AIDS Day Theme: Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise – Universal Access and Human Right

  • More than 100 communities commemorate World AIDS Day with the Light for Rights Campaign
  • 18th International AIDS Conference takes place in Vienna, Austria
  • UNAIDS report on the global AIDS epidemic notes signs of declines in new infections
  • G8 commitments to provide ‘as close as possible to universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support’ by 2010 expires unmet
 World AIDS Day 2011 banner

> Statements

> Video Messages

Executive Director of UNAIDS

World AIDS Day message from UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé on December 1, 2011
2011 has been a year of achievements. Millions of lives have been saved as HIV treatment and prevention efforts show results. World leaders have made new promises.

 World AIDS Day 2011 banner


In commemoration of
World AIDS Day

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS),
The United Nations NGO Committee on HIV/AIDS,
UN Cares, UN Plus, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
and African Services Committee

cordially invite you to attend a panel discussion on

WAC zero

  • 1 December 2011 (Thursday)
  • 3:00 – 4:30 pm, NLB Conference Room 2
  • Light refreshments will be served from 2:15 – 3:00 pm

The panel will discuss HIV prevention, treatment, care and support strategies needed to realize the vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related death. Speakers include leaders and experts representing government, civil society, academia and UN agencies.

For more information, please contact Mr. Eric Sawyer at

 World AIDS Day 2011 banner

2011 UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report

 World AIDS Day 2011 banner



UNAIDS Reports:


 World AIDS Day 2011 banner

Additional Resources

 World AIDS Day 2011 banner

Previous Observances

 World AIDS Day 2011 banner


> United Nations (UN).

The General Assembly in session. Photo credit: UN / Eskinder Debebe The United Nations was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries committed to preserving peace through international cooperation and collective security. Today, nearly every nation in the world belongs to the UN: membership totals 192 countries.

When States become Members of the United Nations, they agree to accept the obligations of the UN Charter, an international treaty that sets out basic principles of international relations. According to the Charter, the UN has four purposes:

  • to maintain international peace and security;
  • to develop friendly relations among nations;
  • to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
  • and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.


* The above story is adapted from materials provided by United Nations (UN)
** More information at United Nations (UN)More about United Nations (UN)

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