AIDS Memory UK, the campaign to establish a London and national UK AIDS Memorial, and STOPAIDS, a network of UK agencies working together to secure an effective global response to HIV and AIDS, are to host a vigil in remembrance of the 36.3 million people who have died from AIDS-related illnesses at Soho Square Gardens in London on World AIDS Day, Wednesday, December 1 from 6.30pm.
Open to all, and hosted by HIV/AIDS campaigners, the gathering will be followed by a series of educational and remembrance events around Soho including in pubs Comptons and the Duke of Wellington (from 7.30pm), Piccadilly Circus (from 8.15pm) and at the Admiral Duncan pub (from 9pm).
This year’s vigil will also see campaigners #HonouringHIVAllies. This decision by AIDS Memory UK is in recognition of the need for everyone to become an ally in the fight against HIV, in order to realise the vision of this year’s WAD, which has the theme End Inequalities. End AIDS. End Pandemics. Many allies who have supported their friends, lovers, family members and colleagues living with HIV have, in doing so, fought against the prevalent and corrosive stigma that still exists against people living with HIV.
Ash Kotak, Executive Director of AIDS Memory UK, said: “HIV stigma is irrational, illogical and cruel. Everyone needs to become an HIV ally so we can end that stigma. Without stigma, we make it so that all people living with HIV can be out about their status and ensure everyone is able to access testing and treatment so we can save lives and end AIDS.
“Please join us this World AIDS Day to remember those we have lost to HIV/AIDS and renew our commitment to fighting HIV and ending AIDS.”