Under the theme, ‘Reflecting On Our Past, Preparing for Our Future’ the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial will take place worldwide on Sunday May 20, where candles will be lit in honor of persons who have lost their lives over the years to HIV and AIDS, and, offer support to those still living with the disease.
HIV/AIDS Survivors Benefit (HASB) organization is spearheading the activities here in conjunction with the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Committee and the ‘Global Network of People living with HIV,’ one of the world’s oldest and largest grassroots mobilization campaigns for HIV awareness in the world.
According to the organization’s website, www.candlelightmemorial.org, the initiative began in 1983.
“The international AIDS Candlelight Memorial takes place every third Sunday in May and is led by a coalition of some 1,200 community organizations in 115 countries.”
The website further states that the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial serves as a community mobilization campaign to raise social consciousness about HIV and AIDS.
“With 33 million people living with HIV today, the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial serves as an important intervention of global solidarity, breaking down barriers of stigma and discrimination, and giving hope to new generations.
In this vein, Grand Bahama-based Kevin Thompson Delancy, HIV and AIDS Activist, and founder of HIV/AIDS Survivors Benefit (HASB) informed that his organization in conjunction with the Grand Bahama AIDS Awareness Committee will worship as one, during the 35th Anniversary of the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, here on the island, at the Pro-Cathedral of Christ the King, Sunday May. 20, beginning at 6:00 p.m..
“This year, we received a message from the President and CEO of the Global Network of People living with HIV. They are the persons responsible for the Candlelight Memorial. The message that we received will be published in our book this year, from our partners, Global Network of People living with HIV. We are really excited about this,” noted Thompson-Delancy.
Eager to spread the word on the importance of persons being tested regularly, Delancy expressed hope for good attendance at the service in Freeport.
In addition, he shared his thoughts on the recent rapid HIV testing which took place on April 28 at the Pearce Plaza. The initiative was a collaborative effort between The Grand Bahama Health Services, The Grand Bahama AIDS Awareness Committee and HASB.
“Firstly, I would like to thank The Freeport News for always supporting us in getting our stories out there.
“As it relates to our recent Rapid Testing event, we want to thank the public and all that heeded the call, to come out, and check their status. Knowing your status is important. Our goal is to ensure that persons know their status, because if you are living with HIV/AIDS you can survive. I know this because, through science and God, I am a living survivor of 32 years.
“Our turnout on April 28 at Pearce Plaza, Coral Road was rather small, compared to the previous rapid testing events that we have had. The Grand Bahama Health Services Professional Staff of the Surveillance Team, along with the Grand Bahama AIDS Awareness Committee and the HIV/AIDS Survivor Benefit Committee, tested over 50 persons. Prizes were also distributed during the event as well.
“We look forward to continuing with many more rapid testing events, in conjunction with the Rand Memorial Hospital, in ensuring that Grand Bahama and the wider Bahamas, is tested,” concluded Thompson-Delancy.