Raise Your Awareness

Monthly awareness days and themes are great ways to raise your voice in order to get the conversation going in your community about issues that matter to you.Use this list for ideas for developing community programs, workshops, and activities to get the conversation going with your friends, family, colleagues, and policy makers. Check out these awareness day event planning guides by AIDS.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help you plan your event. Your event can be in person, on a blog, or on social media.

Click on the month of your choice. If you find this list useful or would like to make a recommendation or an editing suggestion, contact me. This list is updated regularly.

January |February | March  |April|  May | June |  July | August |  September |  October | November |December

January

Birth Defect Prevention Month– Highlights issues related to preventing birth defects during pregnancy. Each year, there is a new theme (examples include clefts, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and congenital heart defects.)

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month– Highlights issues related to cervical cancer, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and the importance of early detection, education and the emotional issues related to battling cervical cancer and HPV. There is also a Free Pap Test Day, typically held on the second Friday in January for women who have not had a Pap test in three years.

Human Trafficking Awareness Month– Raises awareness of the rise in human trafficking in the United States, and dispels the myth that human trafficking only happens outside of the U.S. National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is January 11th.

National Stalking Awareness Month– Challenges the United States to fight stalking through public awareness, education, and policy making.

No Name-Calling Week–  Focuses on the problem of name-calling in schools, and to provide students and educators with the tools and inspiration to generate ongoing dialogue about ways to eliminate name-calling in their communities, and major part of bullying.

National Mentoring Month– Focuses on the importance of mentoring and how communities and organizations can work together to increase the number of mentors and mentoring programs for young people.

Religious Freedom Day (January 16)- Promote and protect students’ religious expression rights by informing educators, parents, and students about these liberties.

Anniversary of Roe V. Wade (January 22)- Recognizes the United States Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that a right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment extended to  woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy.

February

Black History Month– Recognizes the history, traditions, contributions and advancements made by Black Americans.

American Heart Month– Raises awareness of the impact of cardiovascular disease.

Teen Dating Violence Prevention & Awareness Month – Raises awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it. Leaders in government, student bodies, schools, youth service providers, community-based organizations, and parents all participate in preventing teen dating violence.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (February 7)- Increases awareness, participation and support for HIV prevention, care and treatment among Black Americans by motivating Black Americans to get tested for HIV.

Freedom to Marry Day (February 12)- A non-official holiday to promote same-sex marriage.

National Condom Week– Helps to educate young adults about serious risks involved with unprotected sex. This includes the risk of catching and spreading sexually transmitted infections including HIV as well as helping to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Typically held during the week of Valentine’s Day.

International Condom Day (February 14)- Recognizes the importance of condom use as a preventative measure against unwanted pregnancy and STIs.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Last week of February)- Raises awareness about the dangers of eating disorders (including anorexia and bulimia) and the need for early intervention and treatment by distributing educational materials and organizing events in their communities as well as promoting a positive body image.

March

National Social Work Month– Celebrates one of the nation’s largest professions and the contributions in adolescent and youth development, mental health, aging and care-giving, child protection services, healthcare, poverty reduction, and nonprofit management and community development. 

International Sex Workers Rights Day (March 3)- Recognizes the rights of sex workers.

National Women’s History Month– Recognizes the political, economic, social, and historic contributions that women of every race, class and ethnic background have made to advance the growth and strength of the United States.

National LBGT Health Awareness Week (last week in March)- Encourages community members, service providers, advocates, and government officials to recognize health and wellness as essential part of the lives of the lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender community and their families.

International Women of Color Day (March 1)- Day of recognition for the successes and achievements made by women of color.

International Women’s Day (March 8)- Celebrates the global economic, political, and social achievements of women, focusing on peace, empowerment, and equality.

National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (March 10)- Raises awareness of the increasing impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls in the United States and throughout the world. Women and girls, particularly women and girls of color, currently represent one of the fastest growing groups affected by HIV/AIDS both nationally and globally.

National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers (March 10)- Pays tribute to the contributions of abortion providers and remembers the providers who have lost their lives to provide abortions.

National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (March 21)- Increases awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS on American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians by creating a greater awareness of the risks of HIV/AIDS to Native communities.

World Doula Week (March 22-28)- Empower doulas all over the world to improve the health of birthing and postpartum women and newborns through support (World Doula Day is March 22)

Back Up Your Birth Control Day (last week in March): A project of the National Institute of Reproductive Health, this is a campaign to expand access to emergency contraception (EC) by increasing public education and awareness.

International Trans Day of Visibility (March 31): Dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments and victories of transgender & gender non-conforming people while raising awareness of the work that is still needed to save trans lives.

April

National Minority Health Month– Raises awareness about the well-documented health disparities that continue to affect racial and ethnic minorities.

National Public Health Month– Focuses on creating safer communities (school, home, occupation) to ensure greater public health and to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving the public’s health.

Get Yourself Tested Month–  Encourage young people to get tested and treated, as needed, for STIs and HIV.

Alcohol Awareness Month– Raises awareness of the prevalence of alcohol abuse, particularly among college students, young women, senior citizens, even pregnant women. April 8th is also  National Alcohol Screening Day (NASD). At locations across the United States, people can be screened—anonymously—to see if their drinking habits may be risky.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month– Raises awareness about sexual assault and to promote the prevention of sexual violence to ensure that communities are educated about sexual assault, victims of sexual assault receive the care and support they need, and sexual assault offenders are held accountable.

STD Awareness Month– Increases awareness about Sexually Transmitted Diseases, including transmission, prevention, and treatment.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month– Raises awareness of child abuse and how families and communities can prevention child abuse.

National Youth Violence Prevention Week (first week of April)-  Raises awareness and educates students, teachers, school administrators, counselors, school resource officers, school staff, parents, and the public on effective ways to prevent or reduce youth violence.

International Anti-Street Harassment Week (second week of April)- Increases awareness of street harassment (catcalls, sexist comments, public masturbation, groping, stalking, assault) and other forms of gender-based violence in public places that make being out in public unfriendly and even scary for many girls, women, and LGBQT people.

National Volunteer Week (April 10-16, 2016; April 23-29, 2017; April 7-13, 2019)- Promotes volunteerism and imaginative ways to engage with communities.

National Infant Immunization Week (In 2016: April 16-23)- Promotes the benefits of immunizations and to improve the health of children two years old or younger.

World Health Day (April 7)- A global health awareness day, with each year focusing on a health-related them. For example, 2016 focuses on diabetes, 2015 focused on food safety, etc.

National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (April 10)- Educates the public about HIV and AIDS on young people, as well as highlights the work that youth are doing to fight HIV/AIDS.

International Day for Maternal Health and Rights (April 11)- Recognizes the right that each woman has to dignity, respect, and health care that empowers her to decide if and when to be a mother. Highlights access to maternal and reproductive health care as central to women’s freedom, and safe, high-quality abortion care is an integral part of these services.

National Crisis Pregnancy Centers Protest Day (April 13)- Raises awareness about crisis pregnancy centers and their inaccurate medical information that women (in particular, low income women and women of color) receive from these centers. Also raises the need for increased comprehensive medical care.

Day of Silence (April 19)- The largest student-led day of action to protest bullying and harassment against the LGBTQ community. Participants take a vow of silence for 24 hours to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-bullying and harassment in schools and on college campuses.

Earth Day (April 22)- Raises awareness to the impact of climate change and how it affects humans, animals, and places.

Global Youth Service Day (April 15-17 in 2016)- Celebrates and mobilizes the millions of children and youth who improve their communities each day of the year through service and service-learning.

Anniversary of the March for Women’s Lives (April 25)- Recognizes the 2004 March for Women’s Lives in Washington, DC, to protest abortion restrictions and to advance abortion rights, birth control access, and reproductive health care.

May

Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month– Recognizes the history, traditions, contributions and advancements made by Asian and Pacific Islander Americans.

National Masturbation Month– Raises awareness of the importance of masturbation for positive body image, and self pleasure. National Masturbation Month also raises awareness of the stigmatization of masturbation and sex toys.

National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month– Promotes and supports effective teen pregnancy prevention initiatives to highlight and promote sexual health information and services for teens.

Mental Health Awareness Month– Increases awareness around mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia as well as suicide.

National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Month (first week of May)- Brings awareness and creates venues for public education about anxiety and depression.

National Women’s Health Week: Empower women to make their health a priority by educating women on what steps to take to improve their health.

Sex Differences in Health Awareness Day (during the first week of May)- Encourages health care professionals and individuals to be more proactive in learning and discussing the important differences in health between women and men that are often overlooked or misunderstood. Also raises awareness that many health conditions do not affect the sexes equally, such as osteoporosis in women.

International Workers’ Day (May 1)- Celebrates the achievements and work made by documented, undocumented, and oppressed workers, and raising awareness for equal employment rights. Also known as May Day.

National Women’s Check-Up Day (May 13th)- Coordinated by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health to encourage women to schedule and receive checkups from their healthcare provider, and to promote regular checkups as tool for early detection against illnesses.

International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (May 17)- Draws attention to violence and discrimination experienced by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.

HIV Vaccine Awareness Day (May 18)- Raises awareness surrounding the development of an HIV vaccine through education to inform communities about the importance of preventive HIV vaccine research as well as encourage individuals to participate in clinical trials.

National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (May 19)-  Raises awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS in Asians and Pacific Islander communities in the United States by promoting awareness and education as well as remembering the  Asian and Pacific Islanders who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS.

June

Pride Month– Celebrates the diversity of the LGBTQ community by hosting events centered around lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex communities to promote awareness, education, diversity, and tolerance.

National Cancer Survivors Day (first Sunday in June)- Provides an opportunity for all people living with a history of cancer to connect with each other, celebrate milestones, and recognize those who have supported them along the way. Also brings attention to the ongoing challenges of cancer survivorship, cancer research, and legislation to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.

Caribbean American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day  (June 8)- Provides Americans of Caribbean descent with resources, HIV/AIDS health education, evaluation, and opportunities to become more involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS in their communities.

Adult Sex Education Month– Encourages parents to be sex-positive and to open the lines of communication with you regarding comprehensive sex education.

National HIV Testing Day (June 27)- Encourages people to become more proactive in protecting their health and their health of their loved ones by voluntarily getting tested to learn of their HIV status. On this day, many HIV testing sites offer free testing and use several HIV tests, including rapid HIV testing.

July

National HIV Awareness Month: Re-ignites the national discourse on the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic in order to create broad-scale public awareness of HIV/AIDS, to end HIV stigma and discrimination, and to engage communities and lawmakers in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month– Raises awareness of mental health diagnosis, counseling, and treatment in communities of color.

International Self Care Day (July 24)- Promotes self care as a vital foundation for health.

World Hepatitis Day (July 28)- Raises awareness of Hepatitis B and C illness and prevention efforts through testing and treatment.

National Orgasm Day (July 31)- Highlights research and personal experiences related to achieving an orgasm, alone or with a partner.

August

World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7)- Highlights how breastfeeding aids in improving nutrition, and global health. This day also encouraged counseling on lactation and various alternatives to providing breast milk to babies (i.e. pumping).

National Health Center Week (August 11-17)- Enhances the visibility and profile of community health centers, and generates community pride and build support for the health centers program.

International Day of the world’s Indigenous People (August 9)- Promotes and protects the rights of the world’s indigenous population, and also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to global world issues.

Women’s Equality Day (August 26)- Recognizes that, in 1971, women in the United States were given the right to vote in 1878 (19th Amendment), and also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality.

National Immunization Awareness Month– Encourage communities increase their immunization efforts and to promote the benefits of immunization, particularly for children and adolescents.

Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice (first week of August): Focuses on advocacy on the healthcare needs of immigrant women and their families.

September

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month– Promotes awareness around ovarian cancer as well as encouraging women to get yearly pelvic exams as a measure of early protection.

National Infant Mortality Awareness Month– Raising awareness of the high rates of infant deaths, particularly in communities of color, through education, policy, and support.

National Suicide Prevention Week (September 5-11)- Highlights research, prevention campaigns, and education on the causes of suicide and to remember loved ones who are victims to suicide.

National Sex Education Week of Action (last week of September)- Sponsored by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, sex education supporters, peer educators, campus chapters, and affiliates across the country highlight the importance of comprehensive sex education programs.

World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10)- Highlights research, prevention campaigns, and education on the causes of suicide and to remember loved ones who are victims to suicide.

Global Female Condom Day (Mid September; date varies)- Aims to increase the number of women, men, trans people, and youth who know about, use, and advocate for female condoms.

Anniversary of Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) (September 13)- Recognizes the passing of Title IV, sec. 40001-40703 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which provides federal funding towards investigation and persecution of violent crimes against women.

National Hispanic American Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15)- Recognizes the history, traditions, contributions and advancements made by Hispanic/Latino Americans.

National HIV/AIDS & Aging Awareness Month (September 18)- Focuses on the challenging issues facing the aging population with regards to HIV prevention, testing, care and treatment.

Family Health and Fitness Day (last Saturday in September)- Promotse family involvement in physical activity, one of the goals of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health.

World Contraception Day (September 26)- WCD is a worldwide campaign to improve awareness of sexual health, birth control and other contraceptive methods among young people, in order to create a world where every pregnancy is a wanted pregnancy.

Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion (September 28)- Recognizes the actions that individuals, organizations and governments worldwide are taking to defend, protect and fulfill women’s right to accessible, safe and legal abortion.

Anniversary of Mifepristone (September 28)- Recognizes the approval of Mifespristone (the medical form of abortion) by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Commonly referred to as RU-486.

National Women’s Health & Fitness Day (September 28)- Focuses attention on the importance of regular physical activity and health awareness for women.

October

Breast Cancer Awareness Month– Increases awareness of breast cancer by providing information on the importance of getting a early detection and prevention, treatment, and raising money for a cure.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month– Raises awareness of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and seeks to provide information and assistance for battered women.

Let’s Talk Month– National public education campaign and opportunity for community agencies, religious institutions, businesses, schools, media, parent groups and health providers to plan programs and activities which encourage parent/child communication about sexuality.

LGBTQ History Month– Raises awareness of LGBTQ history, increases the importance of role models, and highlights the LGBTQ community’s important national and international contributions.

National Hispanic American Heritage Month (begins September 15 and ends October 15)- Recognizes the history, traditions, contributions and advancements made by Hispanic/Latino Americans.

World Mental Health Day (during second week in October)- International campaign to raise public awareness about the history of mental illness, current mental health issues, and also highlights the stigma surrounding individuals with mental illness.

Child Health Day (first day in October)-  Raises awareness on helping children make healthy life choices and to providing them with the resources to lead happy and productive lives.

International Day of the Girl (October 11)- Highlights the advancements made in improving the lives of girls.

1 in 3 Campaign Week of Action (last week in October)- A week of action to start conversations on abortion, to elevate women’s real life stories rather than political rhetoric and divisive language. Sponsored by Advocates for Youth.

World Mental Health Day (October 10)- Raises awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. This day also provides an opportunity for all mental health services providers to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.

National Coming Out Day (October 11)- Highlights the discussion on coming out and embracing oneself to live opening and bravely as a LGBTQ person. This day also encourages allies to come out support the LGBTQ community another though encouragement, optimism, and awareness.

Ally Week (last week in October) – Identifies student allies who are committed to addressing anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment in American schools.

National Latino AIDS Awareness Day (October 15) – Increases awareness of the effects of AIDS in the Latino community. Encourages HIV testing and to push for support from public officials and religious leaders.

Love Your Body Day (mid October)- Challenges societal messages that a woman or girl’s worth is enhanced by physical appearance. Encourages women and girls to create their own positive body messaging.

International Intersex Awareness Day (October 26)- Increases awareness of the historical underrepresentation of intersex people and their experiences.

November

Native American Heritage Month– Recognizes the history, traditions, contributions and advancements made by Native and Indigenous Americans.

National Homeless Youth Awareness Month – Raises awareness of the issues involving homeless and runaway youth by increasing and encouraging the role of the community in preventing and ending youth homelessness.

National Adoption Month– Promotes awareness of the need for adoptive families for children in foster care.

Lung Cancer Awareness Month– Increases attention to lung cancer prevalence and prevention and brings much-needed support and attention to a disease that each year kills more people than breast, prostate, colon and pancreas cancers combined.

American Diabetes Month– Raises awareness of the risk for developing diabetes and diabetes complications by sharing preventive measures and encouraging medical check-ups.

LARC Awareness Week (November 13-19)- Raises awareness about long-acting reversible contraception methods (LARCs)—intrauterine devices (IUDs) and the implant.

Great American Smoke-Out  (3rd Thursday of November)- Each year during the Great American Smoke-Out, the American Cancer Society promotes local and nationwide activities that focus in a light-hearted way on the benefits of not smoking.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence (begins November 25 and ends December 10)- Raises awareness about gender-based violence as a human rights issues, strengthen local work around gender-based violence prevention, and highlights the link between local and international work to end gender-based violence.

Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20)- Raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender women and men, and also honors the lives of trans people who have lost their lives due to hate crimes.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25)- Raises public awareness and the need for increased political resources for preventing and ending all forms of violence against women and girls.

December

World AIDS Day  (December 1)- Raises awareness of the devastating impact of AIDS worldwide caused by the alarming rates of HIV infection. World AIDS Day provides governments, national AIDS programs, faith organizations, community organizations, and individuals with an opportunity to raise awareness and focus attention on the global AIDS epidemic.

International Human Rights Day (December 10)- Celebrates the universal human right to live and to do so peacefully. This day was declared to raise awareness of human rights and of those who are deprived of these rights.

International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (December 17)- Sponsored by the Sex Workers Outreach Project, this day brings together sex workers and their allies to remember those who have died due to violence, and renew the commitment in the on-going struggle for empowerment, visibility, and rights for all sex workers.