World AIDS Day is a significant event for the LGBTI Community. It’s a time to remember the people who lost their lives to the pandemic as well as a time to celebrate the lives of people living with HIV. In Brisbane, the Queensland AIDS Council hosts a Candlelight Vigil on December 1st. In Cairns a Vigil is organised by the local World AIDS Day committee of which QuAC is a member.
World AIDS Day 2017 Events
A number of events will be held in 2017 including the Candlelight Vigil on December 1st.
World AIDS Day & QuAC
In Queensland, the early 1990s saw the Queensland AIDS Council stage some very successful Candlelight Vigils across the state. In 1994 Brisbane joined 230 other cities in 40 nations in the first International Candlelight Vigil. This Vigil was held in Brisbane’s Suncorp Piazza at Southbank Parklands and many Brisbane residents acknowledged the toll of HIV-AIDS. In 1996, numbers significantly increased with 5000 people marching through Brisbane, with Lord Mayor Jim Soorley officiating. Vigils were also held in regional locations such as Cairns and Townsville.
Then followed several years of well attended Candlelight vigils but sadly the number of attendees dropped away and the final vigil of that era was held in 2007. In 2014, a committee was formed and a Candlelight Vigil was held in Brisbane with an attendance of around 200 people. This support encouraged the committee to plan annual Vigils into the future.
As a community and as individuals, there is a lot we can do in relation to HIV. Working in partnership with people living with HIV, we can encourage others to understand how the virus is transmitted. We can support people to access testing and treatment, as we know that getting treatment at the early stages of infection results in better health outcomes. We can raise awareness that HIV positive people have the right to participate in a community free from stigma and discrimination.
The red ribbon has become the symbol for World AIDS Day. People wear the ribbon to show their concern and support for people living with HIV, their commitment to preventing HIV infection and to remember those who have died. Across Queensland red ribbons are worn by many showing their support for the event. In Brisbane and Cairns, buildings and public places are lit up in red to mark the event.
To get involved in this year’s events contact the World AIDS Day co-ordinator, Gary Williams on 0412 703 554 or by email: [email protected]