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National HIV/STD Awareness Days

About 1.2 million people in the United States have HIV, with men and women of color disproportionately affected, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in eight don’t know their HIV status. The number of annual new infections has been cut by two-thirds since the peak of the epidemic in the 1980s, but tens of thousands of Americans still receive a new HIV diagnosis every year. In 2019, 36,801 people received an HIV diagnosis in the United States, although from 2015 to 2019, HIV diagnoses decreased 9% overall in the US. Globally, around 37.7 million people are living with HIV or AIDS, the disease caused by HIV. There are multiple days throughout the year designated to promote awareness about and acknowledge the diverse populations living with HIV and AIDS. Prevention and treatment of HIV grow by raising our voices as one. When we come together, our communities are heard. Awareness days are powerful focal points to rally around and make a difference. Review some of the awareness days below and have a conversation with your family or friends about these awareness days. Share some of the graphics on your social media channels to spread awareness and knowledge about HIV in your community!

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

February 7

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is observed annually on February 7, during Black History Month. The day raises awareness about the impact of HIV on black or African American communities. Black people make up 13 percent of the U.S. population but were 42 percent of new HIV diagnoses in 2018, according to the CDC. This annual day of awareness is meant to increase testing, education, and treatment in the Black community.

National Condom Appreciation Day

February 14

National Condom Appreciation Day (NCAD) is a time to promote the use of condoms and educate people about the need for always practicing safer sex to stop the spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). The aim of NCAD is to get more people comfortable with purchasing, talking about and using condoms during sexual activity. It is also for promoting healthy and safe relationships and reminding people about the importance of using condoms correctly to reduce risks of sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies. Most people are not aware that you can find condoms at no cost to you at local clinics, health departments and other HIV organizations, while at the same time accessing HIV/STI testing and PrEP services.

National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS

March 6-13

The primary purpose of the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS is to bring attention to the national HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States and to the roles that faith communities have had, and continue to have, in HIV prevention, education, service and advocacy. Among many faith communities, they might have sermons and lectures on HIV, candle-lighting ceremonies to remember those we have lost, prayer vigils, concerts, and HIV education and testing. The Balm in Gilead has developed resources that describe key facts about HIV among youth and encourage efforts to promote HIV testing, PrEP, and other prevention strategies.

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

March 10

Women accounted for one in five new diagnoses in 2017, according to the CDC. In 2005, the U.S. Office on Women’s Health created this day to raise awareness about the need for all women, including pregnant women, to protect themselves and their partners against HIV and to get tested and get treatment if they are living with HIV.

National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

March 20

Observed on the first day of spring each year, National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day encourages American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians to get tested and get involved in prevention efforts to reduce HIV stigma, encourage testing and encourage treatment for people with HIV.

National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

April 10

While older generations learned about HIV/AIDS in different ways, younger generations need age-appropriate education about transmission and prevention to help end the epidemic. This day raises awareness about the impact of HIV on youth and highlight the work that young people are doing to reduce HIV in their community and promotes the “Let’s Stop HIV Together” campaign.

National STD Awareness Week

April 10 - April 16

STD Awareness Week, observed the second full week in April, provides an opportunity to raise awareness about STDs and how they impact our lives; reduce STD-related stigma, fear, and discrimination; and ensure people have the tools and knowledge to prevent, test for, and treat STDs.

National Transgender HIV Testing Day

April 18

This day promotes the importance of routine HIV testing, status awareness and continued focus on HIV prevention and treatment efforts for transgender and gender non-binary people. Regular testing in the transgender community is important to help stop new infections and get anyone who is unaware of their status into treatment. A 2019-2020 CDC survey in seven major U.S. cities found that 4 in 10 transgender women are living with HIV, while globally, about 20 percent of trans women and 2.5 percent of trans men are HIV positive, according to an estimate published in December 2021 in the journal PLoS One.

National HIV Vaccine Awareness Day

May 18

This day is a chance to thank the volunteers, community members, health professionals, and scientists working together to find a safe and effective vaccine to prevent HIV. It is also a time to educate communities about the importance of preventive HIV vaccine research. The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) leads this day’s observance.

National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

May 19

This day, observed within Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, focuses on raising awareness and reducing the impact of HIV related stigma within the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. It was founded by the Banyan Tree Project and has been observed since 2005.

National Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day

June 5

Those who have been living with HIV since the early years of the epidemic have unique needs to address both physically and emotionally. According to the American Psychological Association, 24 percent of all people in the U.S. living with HIV have been doing so since before the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in 1996. Often overlooked HIV Long-Term Survivors (HLTS) includes people born with HIV or who acquired the virus as babies and are now in their 30s and 40s. HLTS are also those living with HIV and AIDS for over 20 years.

National HIV Testing Day

June 27

National HIV Testing Day is observed annually on June 27 and encourages people to get tested for HIV, know their status, and get linked to care and treatment. Locate testing near you right now so you can update your status.

Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

August 20

Southern HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is observed annually on August 20. The Southern AIDS Coalition launched this day to raise awareness about the continuing and disproportionate impact of HIV in the South.

National Faith HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

August 29

National Faith HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was first observed in 2017 by RAHMA and is now observed annually on August 29. This day is intended to engage faith communities to work together for HIV/AIDS education, prevention, treatment, care, and support, and to reduce and eliminate stigma and discrimination within faith communities.

National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day

September 18

National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day (NHAAD) is observed each year on September 18. Founded by The AIDS Institute, this observance day brings awareness about the growing number of people living long and full lives with HIV and the unique challenges faced by the aging population around HIV prevention, testing, care and treatment.

National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

September 27

HIV and AIDS have a hugely disproportionate effect on gay men, which this day acknowledges by showcasing the impact of HIV on gay and bisexual men in the U.S. National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day aims to empower gay men to start talking about HIV, get involved in HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, get tested, and get treatment if they are living with HIV. The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) founded this day in 2008, but even thought their organization shut down operations on February 14, 2013, this national awareness day carries on.

National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day

October 15

Twenty-nine percent of new U.S. diagnoses of HIV in 2019 were among Latinx people, according to the CDC. The agency’s “Let’s Stop HIV Together” campaign materials are available in both English and Spanish. The Latino Commission on AIDS helped to create and organize National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (NLAAD) now called National Latinx AIDS Awareness Day which raises awareness about HIV testing and prevention in Hispanic/Latino communities and provide them with information on access to care.

World AIDS Day

December 1

World AIDS Day, observed each year on December 1, is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and remember those who have died from an HIV-related illness. Started in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first-ever global health day. What are you waiting for? Join people around the world to unite in the fight against HIV, show your support for those living with HIV, and remember those we have lost.