World AIDS Day is marked globally on 1 December. In 2022 the national theme for World AIDS Day is Boldly Positive.
World AIDS Day aims to encourage Australians:
On World AIDS Day you can show your support for people with HIV by wearing a red ribbon, the international symbol of HIV awareness and support.
This is a time when we are mindful of our community members living with HIV, of demonstrating our support for them and commemorating those with HIV who have passed away. However, we need to ensure that this awareness remains part of our everyday life as a community.
HIV is an important part of our community’s history. In the mid-1980s some people with bleeding disorders acquired HIV from their clotting factor treatment products. Treatment product safety is now greatly improved and the risk of bloodborne infection from products derived from blood is extremely low. Nevertheless, the impact of HIV has been profound. It affected not only the people who acquired HIV, but also their partner, family and friends, the health professionals who have cared for them, and the bleeding disorders community generally.
The HIV experience drew on the resilience that was already a strong element among people with bleeding disorders and led to a resolve to respond as a community, taking on effective advocacy around safer treatments and providing support.
Living with a bleeding disorder can have its challenges and peer support is valued by many. Our bleeding disorders community is diverse but comes together with an aim of valuing everyone for their mutual support, inspiring stories, and shared lived experience.
There has been an ongoing conversation about support for community members with HIV and those who have loved them and cared for them: what would they like to see in peer support?
They have said that acknowledging and hearing their experiences is immensely important. Creating an environment where our members with HIV can thrive also involves recognising and respecting individual preferences. Every person or family affected by HIV has their own story or way of dealing with it. Some have spoken openly about having HIV or their experiences while others are very private; some prefer not to dwell on the past; others find it very difficult to think about the future. It can be important for some to commemorate those they have lost.
Our Foundations are committed to making sure their community activities provide a supportive and inclusive environment, which takes all of this into account.
Read 40 years of HIV – where to next? for reflections from our affected community about their experiences and thoughts about the future.
World AIDS Day and local events – www.worldaidsday.org.au
Sign up for the latest news, events and our free National Haemophilia magazine