The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is one of the oldest and largest grassroots mobilization campaigns for HIV/AIDS awareness in the world. Started in 1983, it takes place every 3rd Sunday in May and is led by a coalition of more than 1,000 community organizations in over 100 countries. This year, it will be marked on Sunday, 20 May 2012.
Globally, the United Nations estimates that more than 30 million people are presently living with HIV/AIDS, with more than 20 million deaths. In Singapore, according to the Ministry of Health, over 5,000 people are reported to be HIV-positive, and more than 1,300 have died of AIDS-related causes.
The Memorial started as a way of honouring the memory of those lost to the disease, while offering support for those living with HIV/ AIDS. Additionally, it now serves as a community mobilization campaign to raise social consciousness about HIV/ AIDS, as well as an important intervention for global solidarity, breaking down barriers of stigma and discrimination, and giving hope to new generations.
In Singapore, the AIDS Candlelight Memoral will be organised by Action for AIDS on 17 May 2012, Sunday, 7pm at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital Theatrette. The event will be observed simultaneously in over 300 cities around the world to honour the lives and memory of those who have died of HIV/AIDS, and makes a clear yet profound statement that HIV/AIDS is present in Singapore, and there are people affected and infected with it.
It also increases the visibility of the fight against the disease, and serves as a reminder that our fight against the disease is ongoing. It lends support to the families and friends of those who have died of AIDS-related causes, and assures them that they are not alone.
If you’re worried that you or someone you know may be infected with or affected by HIV/ AIDS, find out more through the following links.
To have a better understanding of what it’s like to be HIV-positive, you can read the story “My hopes and dreams” by Lester, a young gay man who is HIV-positive.