Candlelight vigil held in Manchester to mark World AIDS day
- Vigil held every year on World AIDS day to remember those who have lost their lives to HIV
- Free HIV testing provided to encourage people to get tested and to raise awareness
- There are 300 new cases of HIV in Manchester every year
A candlelight vigil was held in Sackvillle Gardens to raise awareness of HIV testing on World AIDS Day.
Hundreds of people gathered at Sackville Gardens in Manchester for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of people who have lost their lives to HIV and to raise awareness on the importance of HIV testing.
The vigil began with a candlelit walk into the gardens followed by music and poetry performances from residents and a number of guest speakers including Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.
One man in attendance, who was impressed with the speech the mayor delivered, said: ”I think it’s quite amazing that as the mayor he is committed to making a positive change. Last year he pledged over a million pounds to overcome the HIV problem here in Manchester.
"It’s vital that action is taken because people with HIV can live healthy lives and we don’t want to see more people losing their lives to the disease by not getting tested.”
There are currently 300 new cases of HIV in Manchester every year. If the disease is caught early enough people with HIV can live long lives but many people are still not getting tested.
Speakers at the vigil encouraged people to seek out free testing which was being offered on the night at the surrounding bars on canal street.
Taylor Atkinson, who attended the vigil, said: “There’s a lot of stigma surrounding HIV which can discourage people from getting tested and essentially cost them their lives.
"Events like tonight provide a safespace for people wanting to get tested and we need these events to keep existing to break that stigma and to remember those who have already lost their lives.”
A minute's silence was held to remember the people who have lose their lives to HIV and a red ribbon was placed in the gardens to mark World AIDS day.