Most HIV positive people are forced to remain tight lipped about their condition because of fear of stigma and discrimination, it was claimed this week.
Gerry Coy, support service co-ordinator at AIDS West, says while advances in treatment have led to many leading relatively normal lives, the “twin traumas of stigma and discrimination means that most are forced to live with the burden of secrecy and non-disclosure”.
“With all the economic trauma in the country at present it is easy to forget all those who have to struggle with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.
“This Christmas it would be lovely to see the public open their hearts to all HIV positive people without fear or judgment,” he says.
He was speaking in advance of AIDS West’s annual free candlelit concert which takes place on Sunday at St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church at 8pm. It will mark World AIDS Day and everyone is invited.
The evening will feature Christmas carols by Cois Cladaigh under the acclaimed musical direction of Brendan O’Connor and organist supremo Eamonn Murray. A special treat this year will be Galway’s foremost trio of sopranos performing together - Delia Boyce, Sandra Schalks and Hildegarde Naughton.
City Mayor Terry O’Flaherty and the presidents of Galway Chamber of Commerce and Lions Club will attend the event.
2012 marks both the 25th anniversary of AIDS WEST and the 30th anniversary of Cois Claddaigh in Galway so a very special night is promised.
Since its launch in December 1988 World Aids Day has aimed to increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education surrounding issues relating to HIV/AIDS. It also provides an important reminder that HIV has not gone away and that 33 million people are living with the condition worldwide.
AIDS West, which is based in Galway, provides information, education and support for people with HIV/AIDS as well as on all aspects of sexual health.
For further information telephone (091 ) 566266 or email [email protected]