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AIDS Candlelight Vigil
and Memorial
- Guest Speaker Bradford McIntyre

AIDS Candlelight Memorial
Carnegie Community Centre
Vancouver, Canada
May 26, 2011

My name is Bradford McIntyre and I'm Positively Positive. I have been living infected with HIV for 27 years. I feel very fortunate to be here today.

I am the founder and operator of Positively Positive - Living with HIV/AIDS (www.PositivelyPositive.ca) and currently, on the Board of Directors of AIDS Vancouver.

The AIDS Candlelight Memorial is an ideal opportunity and event, which allows people who are affected or infected by HIV to gather together, to mourn losses, to celebrate lives and to give and receive comfort from others.

The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, which is coordinated by the Global Network of People living with HIV, is one of the world's oldest and largest HIV and AIDS events. It has 1200 organizations in 115 countries, hosting local memorials. The first memorial was held in San Francisco, in 1983.

The Vancouver AIDS Memorial Society held its 27th and final annual observance in May 2010.

It is essential that we continue to hear the voices of individuals infected with HIV. We need renewed commitment and stronger involvement by communities worldwide to carry forward the important educational messages surrounding this ongoing challenge.

I often think about the countless people, who in the beginning of this epidemic worked tirelessly to break down the barriers of fear and discrimination in their own lives as well as for the sake of others. They worked successfully at preventing the spread of AIDS. Many died in the process!

Globally, we are the beneficiaries of their pioneering efforts.

Sadly, nearly three decades later, there are those who are afraid to disclose HIV infection and many continue to spread HIV.

For as long as I am able, I will continue to work at breaking down the barriers, just like those who went before me! They made it possible for me to be out about HIV! Their early battles for: human rights, stigma and discrimination issues, prevention strategies and access to care and treatment have benefited my life greatly.

Continuing to hold an annual AIDS Candlelight Memorial in Vancouver will enable us to remain connected to those who have gone before, to those who are affected today and in the future.

As someone who is living with HIV, these are reasons for maintaining amemorial event:
• to first and foremost honour and remember those who have died of AIDS
• to demonstrate, through a public event, strong support for those living with HIV and AIDS
• to raise our community awareness and involvement
• to decrease the stigma related to HIV/AIDS

Today we remember.

For a few moments let us pause and remember those who have gone before.

Thank you.

...positive attitudes are not simply 'moods'

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