Representatives from the AIDS Committee of Durham Region (ACDR) kicked off World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, with an early morning jaunt along the city streets carrying bundles-full of knitted red scarves. Katie Nemek, ACDR special events coordinator said The Red Scarf Project aims to distribute warm scarves to people who are in need as well as spreading awareness about World AIDS Day. City and Regional Councillors, as well as MP, Dr. Colin Carrie, joined representatives from ACDR-Oshawa to wrap the red scarves around the trees and lamp posts in areas of the city known to have street involvement. Namek said there 800 scarves were knitted by members of the community with participation from the Rotary Clubs and Oshawa Library. This is the third-year the event has taken place. Coun. Dan Carter said the scarves have been well-received by those who need to bundle up during the winter cold. World AIDS Day, also launched the start of Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week in Canada, is a time for reflection: on what we have achieved with regard to the national and global response to HIV, and what we still must achieve. The first World AIDS Day was held in 1988 after health ministers from around the world met in London, England and agreed to such a day as a way of highlighting the enormity of the AIDS pandemic and nations’ responsibility to ensure universal treatment, care and support for people living with HIV and AIDS. According to the UNAIDS Data 2017 report from UNAIDS, an estimated one million people worldwide died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2016. By the end of 2015, an estimated 36.7 million people around the world were living with HIV. On a national scale, the Public Health Agency of Canada estimated that 65,040 Canadians were living with HIV in 2014, of whom an estimated 52,220 were diagnosed. This means that an estimated 20% of people in Canada with HIV are undiagnosed and unaware they are living with HIV. World AIDS Day is a day dedicated to commemorate those who have passed on and to raise awareness about AIDS and the global spread of the HIV virus.