COLE BAY, St. Maarten (May 15, 2015) – “Supporting the future” is the theme of the annual International Candlelight Memorial slated for Sunday, May 17. St. Maarten AIDS Foundation together with Helping Ourselves in a Positive Environment HOPE will host the local candlelight event at Carl’s Unique Inn from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. The public is invited to join the memorial.
The 2015 Candlelight Memorial theme calls on leaders to support the future of people living with HIV
On World AIDS Day, December 1, 2014, the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP) unveiled the theme for the memorial.
This annual mobilization campaign has been taking place every year since 1983, led by coalition of community organizations globally, and is coordinated by GNP.
GNP Executive Director Suzette Moses-Burton said, “With the transformations being made to global AIDS policy and the development agenda, people living with HIV around the world need to unite and demand a sustainable AIDS response. Where’s the money? Where is the respect for our rights? Where is the support for community action?”
Funding commitments for the AIDS response fell from 2012-2013, and future funding is uncertain. Yet we are not even meeting the current needs of people living with HIV. According to some estimations, an additional 5-10% in additional financing will be needed to meet the latest World Health Organisation antiretroviral treatment guidelines. As it is, many of us face the risk of treatment interruptions due to drug stock-outs resulting from poorly financed health systems. The global AIDS response needs to be financed.
Many of us live in social, political and legal environments that are difficult—sometimes even dangerous. This year witnessed continued criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission, among people living or perceived to be living with HIV, in many countries around the world. And violence against women living with HIV showed no signs of abating. The upcoming targets on non-discrimination could contribute significantly to improving the quality of life of people living with HIV, but we must ensure those most marginalized in our communities are included. The global AIDS response needs to contribute to creating an enabling environment.
People living with HIV have a history of demanding accountability. As we enter this new phase of the global AIDS response, we will need to take up that role as much as ever. However, we need the global AIDS response to support the meaningful engagement of our communities in all their diversity. We can no longer accept that the failure to involve us as equals is simply an oversight. The global AIDS response needs to be fully inclusive.
“On May 17, 2015, as we honour those who have departed, let’s mobilize all people living with HIV from all walks of life to demand a sustainable AIDS response—one that funds health care, promotes human rights for all, and engages us fully and meaningfully,” said Moses-Burton.