Today, December 1st, is not only the first day of the last month of the year, but also holds a much more significant distinction: World AIDS Day.

This international day, started December 1st, 1988, is intended to spread awareness about HIV and AIDS around the world.

red ribbonThe AIDS epidemic has been described as the greatest public health challenge the world has ever faced. And the epicenter of this crisis is Africa, where AIDS is the leading cause of death.

Heightened awareness, as well as more effective treatment, could save the lives of the estimated 4,100 men, women and children who die in sub-Saharan Africa every day.

And it is the red ribbon has become a symbol of the movement, and a sign of support for people living with HIV.

While wearing a red ribbon for World AIDS Day has become a simple and powerful way to show support and challenge the stigma and prejudice surrounding HIV and AIDS that prevents us from tackling HIV in the US and abroad, I also encourage my readers, as tea lovers, to only drink your favorite Rooibos tea (appropriately, also known as Red Tea – and, also appropriately, it comes from Africa!) for the day.

So pour yourself some red tea now for AIDS awareness – the benefits will go beyond your cup!