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1
December
2009

World AIDS Day

Published by Oli Walsh
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Today is World AIDS day.
World AIDS Day was first conceived in August 1987 by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, two public information officers for the Global Programme on AIDS at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Bunn and Netter took their idea to Dr. Jonathan Mann, Director of the Global Programme on AIDS (now known as UNAIDS). Dr. Mann liked the concept, approved it, and agreed with the recommendation that the first observance of World AIDS Day should be 1 December, 1988.
Bunn suggested the date of December 1st to ensure coverage by western news media, something he believed was vital to the success of World AIDS Day. He felt that because 1988 was an election year in the U.S. media outlets would be weary of their post-election coverage and eager to find a fresh story to cover. Bunn and Netter felt that December 1 was long enough after the election and soon enough before the Christmas holidays that it was, in effect, a dead spot in the news calendar and thus perfect timing for World AIDS Day.
In previous years, WhizzKids have run a series of initiatives to commemorate World AIDs day; ranging from a large tournament at the ICC in Durban in 2008, running HIV tests in schools in KZN, or wearing a red ribbon to work. This year we have tried to put emphasis on volunteers past and present to raise awareness of AIDS in their own countries and communities. While much of our focus has been on South Africa due to the high infection rates, it really is a global problem and need to ensure it is addressed throughout the world.
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