Sunday, 19 May 2019, is the 36th annual International AIDS Candlelight Memorial. Join organisations around the world to remember the friends and family we lost and raise awareness with this year’s theme Intensifying the fight for Health and Rights.
When the AIDS Candlelight Memorial was first held in 1983, no-one could have predicted then the scale and impact that the global HIV epidemic would have, now, well into its third decade. With millions of lives lost and close to 37 million people currently living with the HIV, we, as a global community, remain profoundly challenged by this epidemic.
We stand now at the crossroads of a turbulent yet transformational time in the global AIDS, health and development sectors with multifaceted political and financial challenges affecting the strength and sustainability of networks of people living with HIV and key populations around the world. Support for civil society, particularly for advocacy and for networks led by and for people living with HIV, is waning. Continuing human rights violations against those most marginalised, and the lack of political willingness to scale up national HIV responses has left far too many people living with HIV exposed to multiple risks and has jeopardized the hard fought gains made over the last decades.
The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial reminds us that those most affected by the HIV epidemic: including people living with HIV in all their diversity (women, men, young people, gay and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers, drug users, the poor, homeless and unstably housed, migrant and formerly or currently incarcerated people) need to continue to be at the forefront leading our movement for the right to life and the right to health. This includes fighting for universal, comprehensive and sustainable treatment, care and prevention services, and intensifying our work around human rights, stigma reduction, social and economic justice to ensure that no one is left behind.