1. Take a Friend to the Critically Acclaimed French Film BPM
Winner of the Cannes Grand Prix, BPM or, in French, 120 Battements par Minute, tells the story of a young man who gets involved in ACT UP, a confrontational direct-action movement that demanded urgent, large-scale research in 1980s Paris. The Guardian raved about the film, calling it a "defiant account of 80s AIDS activism," and noting, "For most people in their twenties, death is just a rumour. For the gay generation of the 80s and for ACT UP, mortality, illness and bereavement were facts they had to confront, without help from the agencies of the state." The movie offers a poignant education on AIDS history for younger generations. Get tickets for BPM here.
Although many consider gay men the primary victims of the AIDS epidemic, according to the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS, of the 25 million Africans living with the virus, almost 60 percent are women. Many women contracted HIV as a result of rape, which Shukumisa, a coalition of over 60 organizations across South Africa working against sexual violence, is seeking to combat. Through strengthening laws against rape, the criminal justice system, and nonprofit resources to victims of gender-based violence, the organization works to protect African women from sexual assault and the spread of HIV.
3. Get Tested for HIV and Get Condoms
The best way to pay respect to the lives lost to HIV is to protect your own. Monitoring your own sexual health and preventing the spread of the virus to your current and future partners is an important show of solidarity to creating an AIDS-free society.
4. Join the #LetsEndIt Campaign
This year, the U.K. is commemorating World AIDS Day with a campaign to end the stigma against people who are HIV-positive. Along with making a series of statements, the National AIDS Trust is encouraging people to open up about their experiences with HIV on social media.
5. Attend a Vigil
Across America and abroad, universities, places of faith, and charities will be holding memorial services for those lost to HIV and AIDS. You can find services in your area on Facebook, through the Regional HIV/AIDS Connection if you're in the U.K., or through your local LGBT center.