Inventors of World AIDS Day: James Bunn and Thomas Netter

    When we can, we like to give props to someone who did something good. Today we’re giving a shout out to the men who created World AIDS Day 24 years ago. We want your submissions, too. Who deserves a shout out for doing good? 

    Every once in a while, we’ll use this space to give props to someone who did something good. It’s a chance to be upbeat, generous and kind. And we want your submissions!

    This time, we are giving a shout out to American broadcast journalist James Bunn and Thomas Netter, a frequent contributor to the New York Times in the ’80s. These two men are responsible for the creation of World AIDS Day, which will be observed tomorrow for the 23rd year.

    Do you know someone connected to the AIDS epidemic who deserves kudos? Hit the yellow button above, and give someone props.

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    Early on, the work of Bunn and Netter drew attention to the AIDS pandemic, helped alleviate some of the stigma surrounding the disease, and helped underscore the threat of HIV to people of all ages, genders and sexual orientations.

    To galvanize public support of AIDS research and investigation, Bunn and Netter, the first public information officers of the World Health Organization’s Global Program on AIDS, proposed a worldwide observance of those who had died from, and who were then living with, the disease. They recommended Dec. 1 as the annual day of observance because it was between the 1988 U.S. presidential election and the Christmas holidays and would fill a news gap and maximize western media attention.

    World AIDS Day is the longest-running disease awareness and prevention initiative of its kind in the history of public health.


    Props is a chance give a shout out to somebody who did something you think deserves praise and notice. It can be directed toward someone famous, someone in the news, or someone who lives down the street. At any time you can give someone props by hitting the “Give someone props” link on the Speak Easy landing page.


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