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The Red Ribbon

What is the red ribbon?

The Red Ribbon is the international symbol of HIV and AIDS awareness. This is why UNAIDS has chosen to incorporate the ribbon into its own logo.

It stands for:

Care and Concern

It is being worn by increasing numbers of people around the world to demonstrate their care and concern about HIV and AIDS – for those who are living with HIV, for those who are ill, for those who have died and for those who care for and support those directly affected.


The Red Ribbon is intended to be a symbol of hope – that the search for a vaccine and cure to halt the suffering is successful and the quality of life improves for those living with the virus.


The Red Ribbon offers symbolic support for those living with HIV, for the continuing education of those not infected, for maximum efforts to find effective treatments, cures or vaccines, and for those who have lost friends, family members or loved ones to AIDS.

But the Red Ribbons are not enough.

The Red Ribbon is only a useful symbol in the long run when attached to words and deeds that actually make a difference.

If you are offered a Red Ribbon, you are asked to take it and wear it as a tribute to the millions of people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS worldwide.

Anyone can wear a Red Ribbon.

You don’t have to be gay, or HIV positive or living with AIDS to demonstrate that you have an understanding of the issues surrounding HIV and AIDS.

The Red Ribbon project is a grass-roots effort. There is no “official” Red Ribbon. You can make your own to wear.

Wearing a Red Ribbon is the first step in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

It can be worn on any day of the year, but especially on World AIDS Day. The next step is to do something more.

Creation – the Red Ribbon was created in 1991 by the Visual AIDS Artists Caucus in New York.