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Manchester To Mark World AIDS Day

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Tony Lloyd, Labour candidate from Rochdale

A vigil, film screening, photographic art exhibition, faith service, and celebration are amongst a host of events in Manchester being held to mark World AIDS Day….reports Asian Lite News

Manchester Interim Mayor Tony Lloyd
Manchester Interim Mayor Tony Lloyd

Every December the world remembers those who have been lost to HIV/AIDS, as well as celebrating the progress that has been made. The centrepiece of Manchester’s commemorations takes place in Sackville Gardens by the Beacon of Hope – the national HIV/AIDS memorial.

A candlelit procession and vigil will take place from 7pm on Thursday 1 December. At the vigil there will be musical performances from artists including show choir Manchester Glee, musician and activist Claire Mooney and drag star Divina De Campo – as well as a minute’s silence to remember lost loved ones.

There will also be a range of other events in the run-up to World Aids Day and afterwards – details of the events are below.

Greater Manchester’s Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said: “HIV/AIDS has cast a long, dark shadow across the world since we first learned about it, so it is right and fitting we take some time each year to remember those who have been lost.

“Thankfully, being diagnosed HIV positive is no longer a death sentence and treatment means that positive men and women can live long, healthy lives. But in 2016 people living with HIV still face stigma, prejudice and discrimination so it is important that we take the time to say this is unacceptable, and we will stand with them against those who hate.”

Councillor Peter Cookson, Manchester City Council’s lead member for gay men’s issues, said: “It’s important that we remember and celebrate those we have lost to this virus, and to encourage people to find out their HIV status.

“Treatment has improved so much in recent years that if you’re diagnosed early you can expect to live just as long as someone who is HIV negative. But the key thing is to find out your status – and getting tested has never been easier.”

Rosie Robinson from George House Trust, speaking on behalf of LGBT Foundation, BHA and George House Trust added: “World AIDS Day is an opportunity for us to recognise the progress which has been made in the bid to eradicate AIDS and the HIV virus globally. However, the continued demand for all our organisation’s services here in Manchester is evidence that there is still work to be done locally to challenge stigma, increase testing rates, raise awareness and support people who are living with the virus”

Volunteers will be fundraising across Manchester city centre on Saturday 26 November, Sunday 27 November, Wednesday 30 November, and Thursday 1 December, and there will be an information stall at Piccadilly Train Station on 1 December.