December 1, 2021

UW Health recognizes World AIDS Day

Events include ribbon display on Bascom Hill, #StopHIVStigmaWI campaign and Spanish-language panel

Madison, Wis. – To recognize the 33rd annual World AIDS Day, UW Health’s HIV Care and Prevention Program will sponsor several community events, create a powerful display on the UW-Madison campus and begin an interactive social media pledge campaign.

World AIDS Day takes place on Dec. 1 every year to show support for people living with HIV and remember those who lost their lives to end-stage HIV.

Members of the HIV Care and Prevention Program will be placing more than 800 individual red ribbons on Bascom Hill which will remain through the day, representing each individual living with HIV in Dane County, formed into the shape of one large red ribbon. The red ribbon is a global symbol for people living with HIV. The display will be located on the lower end of Bascom Hill.

This display is a reminder to the community that HIV is still something many of our friends and neighbors are managing every day, according to Chris Chapman, patient and community engagement specialist, UW Health HIV Care and Prevention Program.

“There has been amazing progress in HIV treatment and prevention over the last four decades. Those who came before us, the tireless advocates who marched and fought for the resources to allow people living with HIV to live their best lives, made this possible. We stand on their shoulders,” Chapman said. “Today we honor people living with HIV and show them that they are not alone.”

UW Health will also post videos on Instagram from staff and community members making their pledge to stop HIV stigma. You can create your own pledge (see CDC pledge cards for inspiration) and share it using the hashtag #StopHIVStigmaWI.

2021 marks the 40th anniversary of HIV being identified in the United States. According to recent data (pdf) from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services:

  • 6,926 people were living with HIV in Wisconsin, including 835 in Dane County, at the end of 2020.

  • 208 people in Wisconsin were newly diagnosed with HIV in 2020.

  • Most new HIV diagnoses were identified in Milwaukee, Dane and Brown counties.

“HIV continues to impact thousands of people in Wisconsin and tens of millions of people worldwide,” said Dr. Dawd Siraj, infectious disease and HIV physician, UW Health, and professor of medicine, UW School of Medicine and Public Health. “The work to end this epidemic is far from over.”

Since 1985, UW Health’s HIV Care and Prevention Program has been caring for people living with HIV. The program began sponsoring local World AIDS Day events in 2003.

Additional events

Other events sponsored by UW Health’s HIV Care and Prevention Program are below. All are free, public, virtual and open to the public.