The concept of observing World AIDS Day was the brainchild of Jonathan Mann, director of the Global Programme on AIDS, at the WHO (World Health Organization).
In 1988, at the World Summit of Ministers of Health, programs for AIDS prevention and the concept of a World AIDS Day was supported by all the participating nations. In October 1988, the United Nations General Assembly formally recognized this concept. World Health Organization declared December 1, 1988, as the first World AIDS Day.
In 1996, an organization known as Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) was formed to plan and promote the awareness of the World AIDS Day. This organization also aimed at creating awareness of this deadly disease in all the nations. In 1997, UNAIDS strived to create an awareness regarding the causes of AIDS by propagating year-around communications through a campaign known as World AIDS Campaign.
In 1997, UNAIDS created a theme of World AIDS Day and focused only on children and young people. The theme helped to alleviate the stigma attached to this disease. Later they focused on people of all age groups, who were the victims of HIV/AIDS. Every year, they designed new themes for World AIDS Campaign till 2005.
In 2004, the World AIDS Campaign was recognized as an independent organization. The campaign helped to raise funds by conducting various charity shows. This organization educates the people on AIDS by conducting various workshops. These workshops are used to fight prejudice and also to remind the people that HIV is still an epidemic and there are many things that still need to be done.
Till 2004, UNAIDS in consultation with other global health organizations, such as WHO, had different annual themes for the World AIDS Day Campaign. Later in 2005, it was decided that the themes would be changed only once in five years and there would an annual sub-theme.
These themes were created to inspire the political leaders of all the nations to keep their promises and commitment to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, and to support the victims of AIDS. World AIDS Campaign uses this theme to highlight HIV awareness in all the major global summits including the G8 Summit.