What does the red ribbon stand for?

The Red Ribbon Foundation is an example of an organization that utilizes the red ribbon symbol. The red ribbon is a symbol for both drug prevention and for the fight against AIDS.  The Red Ribbon Foundation is an organization that was founded in 1993, it’s purpose is to educate people about the prevention of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Related Complex, ARC and AIDS.

The Red Ribbon was first used as an awareness symbol made by after DEA Agent Enrique S. Camarena was kidnapped, tortured, raped and murdered while working undercover in Guadalajara, Mexico. Citizens in his home town of Calexico, California donned the ribbons to display the need for increased prevention efforts. In 1988, Red Ribbon Week became a national campaign.

    AIDS RibbonThe Red Ribbon Project was created by the New York-based Visual AIDS Artists Caucus in 1991.:

  • Remain anonymous as individuals and to credit the Visual AIDS Artists Caucus as a whole in the creation of the Red Ribbon Project, and not to list any individual as the creator of the Red Ribbon Project;
  • Keep the image copyright free, so that no individual or organization would profit from the use of the red ribbon;
  • The Red Ribbon should be used as a consciousness raising symbol, not as a commercial or trademark tool.

The artists who formed the Visual AIDS Artists Caucus wished to create a visual symbol to demonstrate compassion for people living with AIDS and their caregivers. Inspired by the yellow ribbons honoring American soldiers serving in the Gulf war, the color red was chosen for its, “connection to blood and the idea of passion — not only anger, but love, like a valentine.” First worn publicly by Jeremy Irons at the 1991 Tony Awards, the ribbon soon became renowned as an international symbol of AIDS awareness, becoming a politically correct fashion accessory on the lapels of celebrities. At the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert held at Wembley Stadium, London on Easter Sunday 1992, more than 100,000 red ribbons were distributed among the audience, with performers such as George Michael wearing one. The Red Ribbon continues to be a powerful force in the fight to increase public awareness of HIV/AIDS and in the lobbying efforts to increase funding for AIDS services and research.