To mark World AIDS day, AIDS West will present a special candlelit memorial service on Tuesday 1 December at 7:00pm sharp in the wonderful surroundings of St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church in Galway. This will be the 15th anniversary of the annual event – admission is free to all.
For many families in Galway this is the perfect way to start the Christmas season. Manager of AIDS West, Joe McDonagh outlined that they are delighted that Redemptorist priest and writer Fr Tony Flannery will be the keynote speaker.
“Once again we have planned a wonderful feast of festive music - the evening will feature Christmas carols by the Cois Cladaigh choir under the musical direction of Brendan O’Connor. We are also delighted to announce that Bel Canto will add elegance and glamour to the evening with their magnificent voices blended beautifully together, performing trios, duets and arias in their own unique style”.
“The Mayor of the City of Galway Frank Fahy will also be in attendance for this unique occasion. In support of World AIDS Day, Galway’s Mayor Fahy said that a conversation about HIV can help to demystify some of the myths and misinformation that surround HIV”.
There are a number of other events planned for World AIDS Day in Galway – the AIDS West team will be visible in and around Galway City looking to raise awareness of HIV distributing red ribbons supported by a local band who will also be busking on the streets.
Joe McDonagh stressed that it is essential to challenge stigma and discrimination regarding HIV, so we are asking that people wear a red ribbon, start conversations about HIV with friends and family, and learn more about getting tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections”. There will be a LED Van travelling around Galway City on the morning highlighting the key message of solidarity with all people living with HIV. It is hoped that Galway City and County Council Offices will be lit up red from Fri 27 November – Wednesday 2 December.
While there has been a significant and welcome improvement in treatment for HIV, concern remains regarding the numbers of newly diagnosed cases in Ireland. The 2014 report by the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC ) shows an increase of 11 per cent compared to 2013. The latest HPSC reports for 2015 clearly indicate that new diagnoses continue to rise at a rate over and above that of 2014.
Earlier this month, Ireland’s first National Sexual Health Strategy was published providing a national framework for sexual health and wellbeing. HIV prevention and working together to achieve this is an important aspect of this strategy.
AIDS West, funded by the HSE and based in Galway provides information, education and support in relation to HIV/AIDS and all aspects of sexual health across the West of Ireland.
AIDS West special candlelit memorial service - Tuesday 1 December at 7:00pm sharp, St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church in Galway.