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December Observances

December 1st is World AIDS Day . This national health observance demonstrates support for those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and to memorialize those who have died from illnesses related to AIDS. HIV is the virus that causes HIV infections; however, the most advanced stage of infection is called AIDS. Although the virus was identified only 35 years ago, over 35 million people have died of AIDS related illnesses. For more information about this health observance and/or information about HIV/AIDS, click here. HIV and AIDS are an ongoing pandemic with similar disparity impacts as the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV today. In terms of race and ethnicity data, Blacks/AA people accounted for 42% of the new HIV diagnosis in 2018. Furthermore, Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 27% of HIV diagnoses and 18% of the population.

December we also celebrate National Handwashing Awareness Day. This national health observance, celebrated each year from the 2nd to the 8th of December, aims to raise awareness of the importance of regularly washing one’s hands and to educate the public on the right way to wash one’s hands. One might take the importance of washing one’s hands for granted in modern times, given how easily hand sanitizer, soap, and clean water can be accessed. However, in the mid-19th century, these resources were not commonly available in one’s home. Only professional environments, such as hospitals, had access to these resources. It is important that we continue to maintain hand hygiene as we enter the new year. Click here to learn more.

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