The United Nations Secretariat Building is lit with the Red AIDS ribbon
The United Nations Secretariat Building is lit with the Red AIDS ribbon, demonstrating the Organization's commitment to the battle against HIV/AIDS, and to spotlight the General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS on June 25-27, 23 June 2001. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

More than ever we need to harness the role of community-led organizations that advocate for their peers, deliver HIV services, defend human rights and provide support. Where communities are engaged, we see change happen. We see investment lead to results. And we see equality, respect and dignity. With communities, we can end AIDS.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Communities make the difference

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Communities make the difference".

The commemoration of World AIDS Day, which will take place on 1 December 2019, is an important opportunity to recognize the essential role that communities have played and continue to play in the AIDS response at the international, national and local levels.

Communities contribute to the AIDS response in many different ways. Their leadership and advocacy ensure that the response remains relevant and grounded, keeping people at the centre and leaving no one behind. Communities include peer educators, networks of people living with or affected by HIV, such as gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs and sex workers, women and young people, counsellors, community health workers, door-to-door service providers, civil society organizations and grass-roots activists.

World AIDS Day offers an important platform to highlight the role of communities at a time when reduced funding and a shrinking space for civil society are putting the sustainability of services and advocacy efforts in jeopardy. Greater mobilization of communities is urgently required to address the barriers that stop communities delivering services, including restrictions on registration and an absence of social contracting modalities. The strong advocacy role played by communities is needed more than ever to ensure that AIDS remains on the political agenda, that human rights are respected and that decision-makers and implementers are held accountable.

Find out more about their work.



Communities are delivering incredibly important services and support to contribute to the response to HIV. Providing access to treatment, ensuring that confidential HIV testing services are available, making sure that people have the prevention services they need, community organizations are often the sole means of support in some of the most hostile environments.

But communities need support— financial, legal and political support—to carry on and scale up the vital work they do to keep people safe.

Communities make the difference on #WorldAIDSDay and every day.



Woman and man
  • 37.9 million people globally were living with HIV.
  • 23.3 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy.
  • 1.7 million people became newly infected with HIV.
  • 770 000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses.


AIDS campaign 2019

Often people cannot access the HIV prevention services they need because they face discrimination, violence and even persecution. Communities play a vital role in bringing these life-saving services to the people who need them most. Check and share the campaign and social media materials created by UNAIDS for the #WorldAIDSDay.


International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.