World AIDS Day aims to shine light on often ignored RVA crisis
Read More: World AIDS Day 2016
Richmond continues to be a hotspot for HIV break outs with about 10 new diagnosis a month. This often over looked and under discussed epidemic continues to plague our city, but this Thursday, along with the rest of the world, the issue will be front an center with a series of events connect to World AIDS Day.
Honored every December first, World AIDS Day offers an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. The first World AIDS Day event happened in 1988 and it has continued every since.
Here in RVA, the event will span four events over two days at churches across the city, as well as a candle lit march through Carytown. From Metropolitan Community Church opening its doors on World AIDS Day for reflection, to the Health Brigade sponsored Candlelight Vigil in Carytown to the World AIDS Day service at Holy Rosary Catholic Church.
”I have watched the number of participants grow, who come out to share the stories of loved ones lost,” said Rodney Lofton, a longtime local HIV/AIDS activist who has been involved in local World AIDS Day events for three years. ”
“It is never mournful. It is a time to share the impact our loved ones have left,” he said. “In addition, we have seen an increase in the participation of local faith-based institutions, community leaders and organizations.”
While diagnosis for HIV/AIDS is easier than ever, and treatment has advanced way beyond its humble beginings, Lofton hopes folks realize the important of remembering those lose as well as honoring those who continue to thrive. He hopes people will walk away with a renewed and energized attitude to continue to work towards an HIV free community.
“Based on what we know about HIV/AIDS, no one ever has to test positive again,” he said. “But we know that is not the case. I hope that we can come together as a community and learn from the past, to take care of one another and do our part to support those living with HIV in Central Virginia.”
Event details are below:
Thursday, December 1
A Time to Remember, Honor & Celebrate
11:30am to 3pm
Metropolitan Community Church of Richmond
2501 Park Avenue ● Richmond ● 23220
All are welcome to bring a picture, light candles, write a message or simply sit quietly to remember and honor the lives of those who have died, those living with or affected by HIV or AIDS. The sanctuary will be open for self-guided meditation and reflection
Candlelight Vigil Walk
5:30pm to 6:30pm
All are welcome to join a silent candlelight vigil through Carytown.
Gather at Martin’s parking lot (near the old Wells Fargo building).
World AIDS Day Interfaith Service
7:00pm to 8:00pm
Holy Rosary Catholic Church
3300 R Street ● Richmond ● 23223
All are welcome to gather as community to remember those who have died from AIDS and support those living with or affected by HIV or AIDS.
Sunday, December 4
AIDS Awareness Sunday
10:45am to 12:15pm
Metropolitan Community Church of Richmond
2501 Park Avenue ● Richmond, VA 23220
All are welcome as we give thanks for the progress of treatment and support regarding HIV and AIDS. Come hear stories of hope of those winning the battle against HIV or AIDS. We will remember friends, family members, and loved ones who have died from AIDS as well as those living with or affected by HIV or AIDS by lighting candles, writing a name on our AIDS Memorial Quilt or offering prayers remembrance.
“We can get to zero, but its going to take some work. Five people in Richmond every week is five too many.”December 2, 2016
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