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20th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial

20th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial

“Remembering the Cause, Renewing Our Commitment”

On Sunday May 18th, thousands of individuals in over 2000 communities in 85 countries will simultaneously participate in the world’s largest and oldest annual grassroots HIV/AIDS event. The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is designed to honour the memory of those lost to HIV/AIDS, show support for those living with HIV/AIDS, raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, and mobilise community involvement in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

This year’s theme – “Remembering the Cause, Renewing Our Commitment” encourages us as individuals and as communities affected by HIV/AIDS to keep up our support for people living with HIV and their families, to ensure we promote and practice the safe sex message, and thereby assist to prevent the further spread of HIV in our local community. HIV infection continues to increase by 5 million new infections per year at the global level, and shows no signs of stopping in many countries, at this point. There are over 42 million people living with HIV in the world today.

New Zealand has one of the lowest prevalence rates of HIV infection in the world, yet even so the epidemic is not over in this country - in 2002, 136 people were diagnosed with HIV infection. There is a trend of some people presenting later down the line, and being hospitalised with AIDS (i.e. diagnosed with an illness) - people who had not considered they had been exposed to HIV sometime in their past, had never had an HIV test, and some people who have lived in denial of their HIV risk as well. Not everyone who may be infected with HIV knows that they are, and it is up to each of us to protect our loved ones and ourselves. Safe sex and prevention are still the best strategy.

The community is invited to come celebrate and remember the lives of friends, lovers and family members who have died from AIDS at one of the Candlelight Memorial events being in ten centres around the country. We invite the wider public to renew their commitment to overcoming HIV in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The AIDS Candlelight Memorial “ is an occasion to grieve, but also an occasion to be proud…we pay our respects to the families and friends, and we offer them strength in compassion and support.” – Honourable Dame Sylvia Cartwright, Governor-General

“New generations of New Zealanders are growing up and need to be informed and reminded about the painful past lessons we have learned.” – Helen Clark, Prime Minister

Candlelight Memorial Events - 18 May 2003

Whangarei: 6pm, Christ Church Anglican Church, cnr Kamo and Banks Road. Contact Dave Coppard ph 09 436 2883

Auckland: 6pm, St Mathew-in-the-City, cnr Wellesley and Hobson Street. Contact Wayne Otter ph 09 309 5560

Hamilton: 7pm, Chartwell Room, Hamilton Gardens Pavilion, Cobham Drive. Contact Catherine Adams ph 07- 838 3557

Tauranga: 7pm Memorial fountain, Memorial Park, Devonport Rd. Contact Marlene Ware ph 07-579 8460

Palmerston North: 7pm, Wesley Broadway Methodist Church lounge, 264 Broadway Avenue. Contact Stephanie Wirihana ph.06 350 8606

Wellington: 6.30pm, Old St Paul’s, Mulgrave Street. Contact Rachael Hadwen ph 04 381 6640

Nelson: 7pm, meet Nelson Cathedral, candlelight procession to Fairfield House. Contact Kevin Jensen ph 03 547 2827

Christchurch: 7pm, The Great Hall, The Christchurch Arts Centre. Contact Robin Furley ph 03 3791953

Dunedin: 7pm, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Octagon. Contact Lisa Te Pana ph 03-477 6988

Invercargill: 6pm, Bluff Hill. Contact Shona Fordyce ph 03 214 5768

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