Through a number of moments of reflection and ecclesial events, the Austrian Church is officially joining the World Aids Day that is being celebrated today. It is the date on which people pin a “Red Ribbon” on their lapels to remind us us that Hiv/Aids has not been defeated everywhere in the world, even in Austria. World Aids Day was first proclaimed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1988, and this year its slogan is “My Health, My Rights”, focussing on the fight against discrimination: the red ribbon is a sign against the social exclusion and stigmatisation of people affected by the disease. For the first time, a celebration that has been specially planned for the event will be held in St Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna today, with the participation of cardinal Christoph Schönborn and Gery Keszler, president of the Life+ association (lifeplus.org). The celebration will begin at 10.30 pm and will also be aired on the state TV Orf III and on the radio of Vienna’s archdiocese, Radio klassik Stephansdom: Mass will be open to all believers and non-believers, to commemorate the 36 million people who died of Aids across the world and to rally against any prejudice: “We will celebrate this Mass to pray for those who died of Aids, to comfort the bereaved, and to ask for strength for people suffering from Hiv/Aids. Compassion is very important in our time. And the gift is carefully looking and showing the will to learn”, the archbishop of Vienna said in a statement as he presented the celebration.