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Touching Lives
International AIDS Candlelight Memorial
15 May 2011

Sunday 15 May 2011, tens of thousands of people worldwide will light a candle on occasion of the 28th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial. The International AIDS Candlelight memorial is used by community based organizations in over 75 countries to: remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS; to support those living with HIV and affected by its impact, and to spur calls to action for greater awareness.

With the theme "Touching Lives" the Candlelight Memorial wishes to highlight how HIV has touched the lives of many people. "Touching Lives" also refers to how an improved HIV response with more treatment access, better prevention methods and respect for human rights and dignity touches the lives of people living with and affected by HIV.

Global reports from UNAIDS and others show that increasing access to HIV treatment is working to slow down the HIV epidemic. HIV treatment keeps people living with HIV healthy, more productive and lowers the risk of transmitting HIV to others.

Over 6 million of the estimated 33 million people living with HIV are receiving treatment, but grave injustices remain. For example, annually 370,000 children are born with HIV in low and middle income countries, while parent to child transmission has been virtually eliminated in high income countries.

The Memorial will this year be held only three weeks prior to the UNGASS High Level Meeting where the international community will discuss their commitments to halting the HIV epidemic. Major issues at the UNGASS High Level Meeting will be:

• to increase access to HIV treatment;
• to prevent new HIV infections by ensuring access to condoms, clean needles and an enabling and non discriminatory legal environment;
• to ensure the HIV response is inclusive of key populations at risk, specifically young people, women, men who have sex with men, injecting drug users, and sex workers.
• to reverse the shortage of funding for the HIV response.

This year it is the 28th time the International Candlelight Memorial is organized. Started in 1983 the memorial is the longest running community event around HIV and AIDS. It is also one of the largest events as each year the Candlelight Memorial is being celebrate by tens of thousands of people worldwide.

With just 6 weeks until the Memorial close to 500 community organizers in 75 countries have registered at www.candlelightmemorial.org. These organizers together with the national and regional coordinators are currently preparing the events.

Media are encouraged to contact the national and regional coordinators to join and experience memorials in their countries and communities

To connect to regional coordinators, please visit this web page: http://www.candlelightmemorial.org/board_bios/

To connect to national coordinators, please look here: http://www.candlelightmemorial.org/registration/national/

No national coordinator in your country? Please also check the list of community coordinators. The list is updated daily as new registrations come in: http://www.globalhealth.org/forms/candlelight/management/reports/coordlist_2011.php

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To learn more about the Candlelight Memorial, visit www.candlelightmemorial.org.

For more information please contact ::
Rhonda Stewart, Global Health Council
rstewart@globalhealth.org or 202-833-5900 ext. 3228
Martin Stolk, Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+)
mstolk@gnpplus.net or +31-20-423 4114

The Global Health Council is the world's largest membership alliance of public health organizations and professionals dedicated to saving lives by improving health throughout the world. The Council's members work in 140 countries on six continents. www.globalhealth.org

The Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+) is a global network for and by people living with HIV. GNP+ advocates to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV. www.gnpplus.net

SOURCE: Global Health Council



"Reproduced with permission - Global Health Council"

Global Health Council
www.globalhealth.org


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