World AIDS DAY, observed on December 1 every year since 1988, is an opportunity to mourn the 35 million people who have died of AIDS-related illness worldwide since the beginning of the epidemic in the early 1980s and to show solidarity with the 36.7 million people around the world currently living with HIV. This special day is also an excellent time to raise awareness about HIV and to educate people about the ways to protect themselves against the virus if they are HIV negative and the ways to treat and prevent transmission of the virus if they are positive.

Although much progress has been made in the fight against HIV and AIDS, 1.8 million people around the world contracted the virus in 2016, the last year for which such complete data are available. Lack of education about the virus and lack of access to health care as well as stigma regarding HIV are just a few of the factors that interfere with our many efforts to end the epidemic.

Whether or not you are living with the virus, you can help end the epidemic. POZ recently launched our World AIDS Day 2017 section; now we want to hear your stories.

Are you planning or participating in any related events or programs this year? Do you have any World AIDS Day stories you’d like to share? If so, please email to tell us your thoughts.

We would also like to help promote your events this year. To that end, we invite you to check out the POZ Calendar. If we’ve missed anything, please use the link at the top of the calendar page to submit your events. We will be sharing our #WorldAIDSDay calendar to our 50,000-plus friends and followers, so be sure your events are listed ASAP.

And if you’re going to be spreading the word via social media, which we strongly recommend, click on the video above for some tips from our friends at to help you broadcast your message.