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December 1, 2008

World AIDS Day 2008

Today is World AIDS Day, the day when "individuals and organisations from around the world come together to bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic". 2008 marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, and the World AIDS Campaign is focusing on a theme of leadership and asking people to LEAD-EMPOWER-DELIVER.

10 Things You Can Do

  1. Take the World AIDS Campaign's Stop AIDS Leadership Pledge. "This initiative asks people from all over the world to pledge their leadership to help stop AIDS. These pledges collected online, by mail and at events, will be used to create exhibitions, banners and other visibility actions during major events in 2008 and 2009. With a goal of at least 100,000 signees, these pledges serve as a persuasive tool for leveraging greater political leadership on universal access to AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support and act as a visual example for key national and international decision-makers to follow."

  2. Get tested and encourage your friends to get tested. Learn more at hivtest.org.

  3. Buy stuff. Two examples - from now until January 2, 2009, for every (STARBUCKS)RED EXCLUSIVE beverage purchased, Starbucks will contribute five cents to the Global Fund to invest in AIDS programs in Africa. And MAC has some new products in their Viva Glam line, with the proceeds going to the MAC AIDS Fund, which has raised more than $128 million since 1994. Obviously we're not suggesting that buying a peppermint mocha is groundbreaking activism, but our view is that if you like peppermint mochas anyway, or you were planning on getting some makeup as a holiday gift for your friend/sister/partner/favorite drag queen anyway, consider doing it in a way that helps out just a little bit.

  4. If you do have reservations about the 'buy item X and company Y will donate to cause Z' approach to activism, check out the Buy (Less) campaign and consider donating directly to The Global Fund or another charity working to fight HIV/AIDS.

  5. Take the Walk. Takethewalk.net has information about a bunch of programs that show how easy it is to get involved and make a difference. They address issues directly related to HIV/AIDS like providing access to health care and supporting hospitals in Africa that are working to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, as well as other issues that address the root causes and problems related to the AIDS crisis, like the need for clean water and a good education.

  6. Teachers and students, get involved with Education International's "One hour on AIDS" campaign. "Teachers have a key role to play in the global campaign to reverse the spread of HIV and AIDS. With no cure in sight, education, the ‘social vaccine’, is crucial to prevention and to combating AIDS. AIDS has had a serious impact on the education sector worldwide. It is essential that teachers stand together to fight the disease, to protect our colleagues, our children and our future." EI's website has a toolkit that teachers can download with a poster, a One Hour on AIDS lesson plan, and a feedback form.

  7. Fight for comprehensive sex education. Stupid programs like abstinence-only sex education and policies like the global gag rule don't just lead to unplanned pregnancies, they lead to STDs like HIV too. We all need to keep working to get our government to stop wasting money on programs that are useless at best and extremely harmful at worst.

  8. If you have your own blog (myspace blog, livejournal, Twitter, tumblr, whatever), join Bloggers Unite and Blog for Hope.

  9. Get informed about where our new president stands. Watch President-Elect Obama's remarks on the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, read the Obama-Biden transition team's official statement on World AIDS Day, read his plan to fight HIV/AIDS worldwide, and give him your feedback.

  10. In the face of this ridiculously huge global challenge, stay committed to do what you can with what you have and don't forget to have hope.

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