Today, December 1, marks the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, the day when individuals and organizations from around the world work together to bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic. In 1988, AIDS was causing more deaths in the United States than there were in the Vietnam War and an estimated five to 10 million people were infected worldwide, according to the World AIDS Campaign. However, government, media and society, in general, were not giving AIDS the attention it needed. World AIDS Day began in 1988 when health ministers around the world met and agreed that there should be a day when all would come together to show the importance of AIDS and demonstrate solidarity for the cause. Since then, many positive changes have been made in the fight against AIDS, however much more needs to be done. Leadership is the theme for 2007 and 2008 World AIDS Day because it encourages leaders at all levels of society to stop AIDS. And leadership highlights the discrepancies between what has been promised and what has actually been done to halt the spread of the disease. Governments have to make good on promises. Communities must encourage leadership of its members. And individuals must have access to treatment, know their rights, stamp out the stigma and discrimination associated with AIDS, and must know and engage in methods of prevention against spreading the disease.
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