Give a Day to World AIDS is a simple and powerful response
to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa.
There are 35 million people in the world living with HIV. More than two-thirds of them live in sub-Saharan Africa. Extraordinary progress has been made to address the pandemic in recent years, yet causes and solutions to the pandemic are interwoven with many other global social concerns such as extreme poverty, hunger and gender inequality.
Give a Day is a grassroots Canadian campaign. It challenges each Canadian to recognize World AIDS Day on December 1 by giving one day’s pay to the Stephen Lewis Foundation or Dignitas International, each with its own focus and excellent record of success in responding to HIV.
Here’s some great news about Give a Day:
- To date Give a Day has raised close to 4 million dollars to assist people and places most affected by HIV
- Give a Day is an act of pragmatic global solidarity giving Canadians a practical way to express their commitment to health for all
- There is an impressive response from the medical and legal communities, with several law firms and hospitals hosting Give a Day workplace challenges
Through Give a Day, communities in Canada mobilize resources for communities far from them and we work together every day towards a world without AIDS.
A Brief History of “Give a Day to World AIDS”2004
- There were about 30 million people in the world infected by HIV at that time and only 400,000 people were receiving anti-retroviral treatment.
- I (Jane Philpott) spoke about the AIDS pandemic at a Markham Stouffville Hospital Medical Staff dinner. I challenged my colleagues to mark World AIDS Day by giving one day’s pay to an organization that would use the money well in fight against HIV.
- MSH physicians donated $33,000 to the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
- Give a Day was born!
- The Give a Day campaign spread to include health providers in 8 hospitals across Ontario.
- We developed the first version of the Give a Day logo.
- Dignitas International was added as a second recommended recipient.
- In a letter to my colleagues that year, I quoted Stephen Lewis who said: “When one part of the world is under siege, it’s up to the privileged part of the world to compassionately intervene. It’s called human decency.”
- Toronto hosted the International AIDS Conference. At that venue, Bill Clinton said: “The longer I live and the more I travel, the more I realize that intelligence and effort and ability and dreams are evenly distributed across all of humanity in every country across all races, and religions and cultures. What is not evenly distributed are the mechanisms to give life to all those things. The opportunities, the investment, the systematic capacity that establishes a link between a person’s intelligence, ability, effort and dreams, and the picture of life that emerges.”
- The legal community joined the Give a Day effort – under the leadership of Mike Fekete and Jennifer Keenan.
- On December 1, that year, I wrote: “I dream of the year, when every Canadian will see World AIDS Day, as a day when they work not for themselves but for the broader human family. On that day, each Canadian will give up their income to reliable agencies that use these resources to combat HIV infection around the globe; to treat people with AIDS; and to care for others who are deeply affected by this wretched infection.”
- This was a great year for donations. Give a Day raised about $700,000!
- 33 million people were living with HIV. 1.4 million had access to antiretroviral treatment.
- In the summer of 2007, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the NIH reported: “For every one person that you put in therapy, six new people get infected. So we’re losing that game, the numbers game.”
- We hosted the first Give a Day Harambee.
- Canadian Living did a story about Give a Day.
- At the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, Gregg Gonsalves said this: Without continuing sustained focus on AIDS treatment, many millions of the poorest and most marginalized people in the world will die, period. And without breadth, not only will AIDS treatment be incomplete, but we will miss the greatest opportunity in history to build functioning health systems in some of the poorest countries of the world.”
- Give a Day hosted Hot Talks in Markham with Stephen Lewis, Dr. Jeff Turnbull, Madagascar Slim and Soul Influence.
- In 2009, in sub-Saharan Africa alone1.5 million people died of AIDS related illnesses.
- On the www.giveaday.ca blog, Dr. Tim O’Shea wrote: “91% of the 430,000 children born with HIV in 2008 were born in sub-Saharan Africa. The fact that transmission of the HIV virus from mother to child continues to occur at such rates at a time when we know how to reliably manage this risk should be a source of shame for the entire international community.”
- The Right Honourable Paul Martin was the keynote speaker at the Give a Day Hot Talks event.
- My opinion piece “If I could write a rap song about HIV” was published in the Toronto Star.
- Maple Leaf Foods became a Give a Day sponsor.
- During each day in 2011, one thousand children were newly infected with HIV. This could have been prevented.
- A world-renowned AIDS advocate, Winstone Zulu, died. I wrote about him on the Give a Day blog.
- Give a Day hosted GLINT – a one-hour online twitter-based not-so trivial contest on the topic of HIV.
- In the year 2012, 1.6 million people died of AIDS-related causes.
- By the end of 9.7 million people were receiving anti-retroviral treatment. (Look back to 2004 to see how that number grew!)
- Give a Day had raised over 3.5 million dollars in contributions to the Stephen Lewis Foundation and Dignitas International.
- Arlene Dickinson lends her support as a spokesperson for Give a Day.
- The Stephen Lewis Foundation has supported over 700 initiatives with 300 grassroots organizations in 15 African countries.
- Through Dignitas International, more than 20,000 patients have been placed on life saving antiretroviral treatment at the Tisungane Clinic. Give a Day continues to grow!