World AIDS Day: Is it same as the Day Without Art?

World AIDS Day is also known as Day Without Art Day. On this day, art institutions organise annual event to spread awareness about the HIV-caused ailment

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Wednesday, November 30, 2022, 01:36 PM IST
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Representative Image | Pixabay

HIV remains a major public health issue that affects millions of people worldwide and a significant number of people worldwide continue to live with HIV till date. The WHO calls HIV/AIDS a 'global epidemic'.

What is AIDS?

Put simply, this virus causes AIDS, and interferes with the body's ability to fight off an infection. Transmitted through contact with infected blood, semen or vaginal fluids, it first manifests with flu-like symptoms. Eventually, the AIDS symptoms such as fever, fatigue and recurrent infections comes to the fore. While there are antiretroviral regimens that can slow the progression of the disease, no cure exists for AIDS. As such, creating awareness becomes a crucial part of the efforts to curb the spread of the this particular virus.

Day Without Art

Since 1989, the first of December has been designated as Day Without Art, coinciding with World AIDS Day. It is a day when museums, galleries, artists, and art organisations may come together to raise awareness about the effects of HIV/AIDS and to "honour the lives and achievements of lost colleagues and friends."

Significance of the day

December 1 is observed every year as World AIDS Day. It had been first conceived as an idea in August 1987 by two public information officers working for WHO's Global Programme on AIDS, and was eventually taken up as an observance from December 1, 1988. According to reports, the date, falling at sufficient distance from both the US elections and the Christmas break, was believed to be the best time for obtaining coverage.

Red-Ribbon

It is not unusual to see the use of small folded red ribbons in AIDS awareness campaigns. This red ribbon incidentally is a symbol for several issues including the fight for HIV/AIDS. While it has now become a global symbol of sorts, the Red Ribbon Project dates back to 1991 when a group of artists came together to create a symbol to show support and compassion for those with AIDS and their caregivers. They were a part of the Visual AIDS Artists' Caucus and the credit for the concept is given to the entire group as a whole. The image is incidentally free of any copyright restrictions.

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