Every new month, a new struggle. September Yellow, October Pink, and November Blue are some of the campaigns that aim to raise awareness and draw the attention of the population to the necessary health care.

It all started in October 1987, when the World Health Assembly with support from the United Nations (UN) instituted December 1 as World AIDS Day. The choice of that date followed criteria specific to the United Nations, and in Brazil, the date started to be adopted in 1988, by an ordinance signed by the Ministry of Health.

Although awareness-raising actions have been taking place in Brazil (and in the world) for a long time, the December Red campaign was only officially recognized when it was conclusively approved by the Chamber's Constitution and Justice Commission (CCJ), on 05/09/2017, created by PL 592/15.

The Red December is a mobilization with activities during December, to alert the population about the HIV and AIDS virus, as well as other sexually transmitted infections.

HIV is the English acronym for the human immunodeficiency virus. Causing AIDS, HIV attacks the immune system, responsible for defending the organism from diseases. The most affected cells are CD4 + T lymphocytes, and it is by changing the DNA of that cell that HIV makes copies of itself. After multiplying, it breaks the lymphocytes in search of others to continue the infection.

HIV, in most cases, is transmitted during sexual intercourse without using a condom and through the exchange of body fluids. Contagion can also happen during pregnancy and childbirth (from pregnant to baby), blood transfusions, organ transplants, breastfeeding, and sharing contaminated needles.

It is worth mentioning that AIDS is not the same as HIV. AIDS is a chronic disease caused by HIV. AIDS also facilitates the occurrence of some types of cancer, such as Kaposi's sarcoma and lymphoma, in addition to causing weight loss and diarrhea. Although there is still no cure for the disease, there are currently retroviral treatments capable of increasing the life expectancy of HIV-positive people.

Red ribbon: how the campaign symbol came about

In 1991, a group of artists came together to create a significant symbol at the height of the AIDS crisis - to show support and compassion for people with AIDS and their caregivers. These artists were part of the Visual AIDS Artists' Caucus, and what they created was called "The Ribbon Project", better known today simply as the Red Ribbon.

Through a series of meetings in April and May 1991, and using the yellow ribbons as inspiration, the red ribbon was born. The color red was chosen for its connection with blood and the idea of passion.

The format of the tape was selected in part because it was easy to recreate and wear. The original instructions were to "cut the red ribbon 15 cm long and fold it upside down in an inverted 'V' shape. Use a safety pin to attach it to clothing ".

Thousands of tapes were made during the Artists' Caucus meetings, where friends and supporters worked together to cut, fold and pin the tapes for national distribution. When demand increased significantly, other groups were hired to participate, including the formation of the Armory Ribbon Bee Project, organized by artists Hope Sandow and Frank Moore, in which homeless women on Shelter Park Avenue were paid weekly to make tens of thousands of dollars. ribbons.

Visual AIDS partnered with Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS in June 1991 to grace the guests and hosts of the 45th Tony Awards. The choice was made as a way of communicating the extent to which this epidemic was affecting members of their community - artists and performers.

One of the first presenters to use the iconic symbol was Jeremy Irons. The red ribbon quickly became known as an international AIDS awareness symbol and was used at the Oscars, Emmy, and Grammy Awards. Celebrities, musicians, athletes, artists, and politicians have used the tape in talk shows, TV shows, films, political conventions, sporting events, and music videos.

Today, the red ribbon is an internationally recognized symbol of AIDS awareness and a design icon. The red ribbon was the first "awareness" ribbon, later followed by many other colors and causes.  Unlike some other commercial marketing campaigns, the red ribbon originally evolved as an artistic/activist project.

The tape was never copyrighted in the United States, to allow it to be widely used as a symbol in the fight against AIDS. When creating the Ribbon Project, the Visual AIDS Artists' Caucus pointed out that the ribbon should be used as a means of awareness, and never as marketing. Also, the copyright of the image must be kept free, so that no individual or organization can profit from the use of the red ribbon.

Source: Ministério da Saúde | Visual AIDS