GHT announce plans for vigil this Saturday 1st December
The first World AIDS Day, the first ever global health day, was held on 1st December 1988 and Greater Manchester will mark this milestone on Saturday with a special Vigil.
The Vigil remains an opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV, to show solidarity for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have been lost to HIV.
Since the virus was identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of AIDS or HIV-related illnesses. Nearly 37 million people are living with HIV today with over 101,000 of those living in the UK - and that number continues to grow with over 4000 new diagnoses in 2017. HIV remains one of the most destructive pandemics in history. Despite medical advances in the treatment of HIV, World AIDS Day is important because HIV remains a highly stigmatised condition. There is still a need to raise awareness, educate and tackle the many forms of discrimination that still exist.
The 30th anniversary World AIDS Day Vigil will take place at 7pm on Saturday 1st December in Sackville Gardens, Manchester, and the site of the Beacon of Hope – the UK’s only permanent memorial to HIV/AIDS.
The hour-long event, featuring the Women Asylum Seekers Together Choir and the Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus, will include:
A special candlelit procession around the Gay Village featuring 30 placards, one for each year of World AIDS Days since 1988, carried by staff from Village bars and businesses. The Procession will be led by volunteers carrying one of the 48 panels which form the UK AIDS Memorial Quilt
A minute’s silence as a ribbon-shaped wreath of red roses is laid at the Beacon of Hope.
The Deputy Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Abid Chohan, will speak about the ‘Ending HIV within a Generation’ project, and the plans for the city-region to become part of the ‘Fast Track City’ network meaning Manchester and Greater Manchester joining a global network of more than 250 cities also committed to ending HIV within a generation.
A wider perspective on HIV with people from differing backgrounds reading facts about HIV relating to their own particular background
The Vigil will close with a call to action: to commit to continue to fight HIV stigma, to raise awareness and to normalise conversations about HIV.
Steph Mallas, George House Trust CEO says “Let’s mark the 30th World AIDS Day as a tipping point of opportunity. We will never, ever forget the devastating impact of HIV and the loss of so many lives, but now, knowing for fact that someone living with HIV with an undetectable viral load cannot pass HIV to someone else, we really can look ahead with renewed optimism and the very real opportunity to end HIV within a generation”.
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