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How to “celebrate” World AIDS Day from your desk

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This World AIDS Day I was stuck at home writing a paper for one of my classes, which meant that I missed out on all the World AIDS Day events happening around the city :(.  At least my paper was an evaluation of meal delivery programs for people living with HIV/AIDS, so it was certainly relevant to the day!

I decided that during my breaks I would try to take action online and in my neighbourhood.  These are the results of my “virtual” World AIDS Day recognition - it worked out pretty well I think!

Drank a Creme Brulee latte at the Starbucks on the corner and posted a picture at Starbucks Love Project ($0.10 to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria).  That’s a pretty small contribution, and some people would scream at me for going to Starbucks in general (trade issues, etc), and there’s also a lot of questions about the Global Fund.  On the other hand, with help from Wikipedia, my boyfriend and I calculated that every World AIDS Day, Starbucks is able to contribute approximately $750,000, which is not a small amount (16,635 locations globally x open approximately 15hrs/day x 1 beverage sold/minute).  The two friends I met for coffee and I had a very small roll to play in that! (Impact: $ raised, awareness).

Turned my tweets red using the #red hash tag. World AIDS Day is still in the top trending topics on Twitter, three days later!  I also changed my Facebook profile picture to a microscopic picture of the virus itself (Impact: awareness).

Checked out a few World AIDS Day posts: PatientsLikeMe Facing World AIDS Day, and World AIDS Day: 5 reasons to care.  (Impact: increased my knowledge).

Uploaded a picture to AIDS.gov’s flickr pool, joining 755 others who Faced AIDS this December 1.  (Impact: awareness, solidarity, decrease stigma).

Sent 10 emails with a ReplyForAll email signature, totalling 10 hours of HIV programming by Partners in Health.  If you haven’t checked out their services, you should…its an awesome way of contributing a little bit each day.  Basically, they sell some ad space in your email signature (often a socially-conscious organization, like 350.org) and half the ad revenue goes to a charity they’ve carefully selected that works on the issue that you choose.  I’m not quite sure about the math: they say that for every email you send, its worth an hour of HIV testing, but the charity only gets 0.005$ per email???  But, certainly in the long term, the more people that join and the more emails that get sent means more ‘free’ money for the organizations it benefits, and that’s good enough for me!  (Impact: $ raised, awareness).

Used my Yes Yes Yes lip butter from the Body Shop.  One hundred percent of the proceeds from the $8 pot of lip goodness goes to the Staying Alive Foundation, MTV’s HIV/AIDS initiative.  (This lip balm replaced my previous Kiehl’s World AIDS Day lip balm.  This year it looks like they’re doing hand cream instead, with proceeds going to amFAR.)  (Impact: $ raised, shiny lips).

And finally, I voted for FACE AIDS on an online competition for a grant from Chase Community Giving and donated money to CAPAIDS, Fife House Foundation, Dr. Peter Foundation, and the Stephen Lewis Foundation. (Impact: $ raised).

Phew!  Only 361 days to plan for next the World AIDS Day.  Please send your micro-actions so I can get ready!

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