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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Vancouver International AIDS Candlelight Memorial
- May 20th 2012

May 22, 2012 - VANCOUVER, BC: - AIDS Vancouver, along with 16 partner agencies, held a beautiful and solemn AIDS Candlelight Memorial on Sunday, May 20, 2012, with over 60 people attending the event in spite of the rainy weather.

This was the 29th Vancouver International AIDS Candlelight Memorial and the theme is "Promoting Health and Dignity Together". The International coalition of 1,200 community organizations in 115 countries, all aim to raise awareness around HIV and to promote respect for the human rights of people living with HIV everywhere.

Bradford McIntyre, Vice Chair, on the Board of Directors of AIDS Vancouver and Founder of the HIV/AIDS website: Positively Positive-Living with HIV/AIDS, was the Master of Ceremonies (MC) for the AIDS Candlelight Memorial. A long time survivor living with HIV for 28 years, Bradford stated that, "around 100,000 people worldwide today commemorate the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS and to support those living with HIV and affected by its impact."

Following many years of holding the AIDS Candlelight Memorial and Vigil at the site of the AIDS Memorial at Sunset Beach, the organizing committee decided it was time to return it to Alexandra Park where It was originally held.

Brian Chittock, Executive Director of AIDS Vancouver says, "The organizing committee really wanted to bring the AIDS Candlelight Memorial back to its roots and make a true community event and I think that is what we accomplished tonight. We have Chief Bill Williams, Squamish Nation who blessed the event. Through Bradford McIntyre our MC tonight, we heard a very special message from Shirley Young, Dr. Peter Jepson-Young's mother who was unable to attend. John Cameron brought a sense of humour to his story of living with HIV/AIDS and many times had everyone laughing. Doreen Littlejohn gave an impassioned speech reminding us all of the necessary support for First nations and non-Aboriginal residents with HIV/AIDS, mental illness and addiction. Bradford McIntyre then read the Proclamation from Mayor Gregor Robertson, who proclaimed May 20, 2012 as Vancouver International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Day. Beautiful music was sung by recording artist Michael Vincent and a second song devoted to her late father by Heidi Morgan. James Johnstone wrapped up the Memorial with the ringing of the Tibetan Bell and a moment of silence before the lighting of the candles. It was truly a memorial event."

Many thanks to the sponsors, partners and organizing committee of AIDS Vancouver, Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, Be the Change Group, Does HIV Look Like Me?, Downtown Eastside Consumers Board, Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation, Friends for Life, Heart of Richmond, Health Initiative for Men, McLaren Housing Society, Pacific AIDS Network, Positive Living Society of BC, Positively Positive - Living with HIV/AIDS, St. James Community Service Society, Vancouver Native Health Society, Wings Housing Society, YouthCo, John Cameron, Brian Chittock, Grant Ito, James Johnstone, Doreen Littlejohn, Tuan Luu, Bradford McIntyre, Heidi Morgan, and Norman Rossetti.

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For Media Enquiries or Interviews:
Dr. Brian Chittock, DBA
Executive Director AIDS Vancouver
Direct Line: 604-696-4655
brianc@aidsvancouver.org

For more information visit: www.aidsvancouver.org/memorial

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About AIDS Vancouver

The first AIDS service organization in Canada. AIDS Vancouver was founded in 1983 as the first AIDS service organization in Canada. The agency was formed in response to an emerging disease that was starting to infect and affect local communities in Vancouver, specifically gay men. From our beginning, AIDS Vancouver evolved with the progression of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This evolution has made our service delivery and program development relevant and innovative today.

While setting standards for excellence in program and service delivery, we work with policy makers to address complex legal, ethical and socioeconomic issues. The principles of Health Promotion, Harm Reduction, Community Based Research, Community Development and Volunteerism guide and direct us.

AIDS Vancouver-what we do.

Our mission is to alleviate individual and collective vulnerability to HIV and AIDS through support, public education and community-based research. Our mandate is Prevent Act Support.

AIDS Vancouver opened its doors in 1983 as the first AIDS service organization in Canada in response to the growing need for community health organizations to support individuals vulnerable to the epidemic.

Each year, over 7,000 people from all over the world are accessing some form of service provided by AIDS Vancouver. AIDS Vancouver continues to respond to the ongoing changing and challenging health care environment of HIV/AIDS and is fully dedicated to grow and respond to meet the needs of the community we serve. AIDS Vancouver strives to keep our programming innovative and relevant.

We offer a comprehensive range of services. Specifically, we have intensive and long-term case management, care teams (the only at home individual support program in the city), the only HIV positive nutrition focused grocery program in Vancouver for HIV positive individuals in need, confidential helpline, an information & resource centre providing materials in numerous languages to support newly arrived Canadians, as well as education, prevention and community outreach programs.
www.aidsvancouver.org


"Reproduced with permission - AIDS Vancouver "

AIDS Vancouver
www.aidsvancouver.org


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