Across the globe, people observed and celebrated the World AIDS Day on December 1 to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, decrease stigma of being HIV-positive or living with AIDS, and to encourage testing.

Rihanna and Prince Harry were both HIV tested on camera during a visit to her birth island Barbados. Seeing the RED episode of Jimmy Kimmel or seeing a completely RED iTunes might have prompted one to investigate into this moniker. RED is defined as a licensed conglomeration of brands that “seeks to engage the private sector in raising awareness and funds to help eliminate HIV/AIDS in Africa.”

Raising funds and awareness has encouraged progress in HIV/AIDS research in 2016 which Huffington Post noted as “a banner year for HIV/AIDS Research.” Highlights include the exoneration of “Patient Zero, a National Institute of Health (NIH) discovery that could lead to an HIV vaccine, and a drug on the market for unrelated diseases may work as an HIV suppressant.

Hollywood also sought to emphasize that there needs to be stories that speak to the continuing epidemic of HIV/AIDS that disproportionately affect African-Americans today. When people living with HIV or AIDS tell their stories, the disease and the virus become less stigmatized. Aljazeera posted an article entitled “Living with HIV: ‘There is nothing to fear” and Upworthy posted a poignant comic with 10 people explaining what it is like to live with HIV.

In Georgia Tech’s backyard, Atlanta has infection rates that rival developing countries who struggle to control HIV/AIDS epidemics with Emory University Center for AIDS Research co-director Dr. Carlos del Rio stating that Downtown Atlanta is as bad as Zimbabwe or Harare or Durban. For more information about Atlanta statistics regarding HIV/AIDS, visit AIDSVu.

For more information on receiving HIV testing, please visit www.aidatlanta.org. There are free rapid HIV tests offered on site. Georgia Tech also offers free rapid testing every semester.

-Kristin Liu