The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, coordinated by the Global Network of People living with HIV is one of the world’s oldest and largest grassroots mobilization campaigns for HIV awareness in the world. Started in 1983, the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial takes place every third Sunday in May and is led by a coalition of some 1,200 community organizations in 115 countries.
|Photo Laxman Ranabhat (Candlelight Memorial 2015, Pokhara)
The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial takes place every third Sunday in May.
The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial reminds us of the impact that HIV still has on our lives. The Memorial emphasizes the need for people living with and affected by HIV to join hands and work together in the response to HIV. To engage people, communities, governments and donors in ending the epidemic. To educate the current and next generation about HIV, treatment, prevention and care, and how it affects our lives. To empower people living with HIV in all their diversity to stand up for their right to live a life free of stigma and discrimination. Only when involving people living with HIV can resources be used efficiently to provide a sustainable HIV response for universal access to quality health and social services.
Theme for the 2017 – Ending AIDS Together!!!
The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is committed to ending HIV by raising awareness and advocating for the advancement of effective policies at all levels. The Candlelight Advocacy Platform is derived from the Global Advocacy Agenda which has been the advocacy agenda of the HIV activist movement since 1999. In addition, the Candlelight Advocacy Platform is inspired on current thinking to improve the HIV response, including the UNAIDS strategy Getting to Zero: Zero AIDS related Deaths, Zero new HIV infections and Zero Stigma and discrimination, and the Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention framework as driven by the movement of people living with HIV.
Key issue areas for the Candlelight Advocacy Platform are:
Ensuring Access to Treatment, Prevention & Care
Globally 16 million people living with HIV are on treatment, while millions more are in urgent need of HIV treatment, prevention and care services. Even in places where basic HIV services are available, social and structural barriers such as poverty, marginalization, stigma and discrimination all influence the access of communities and individuals to these services.
The Candlelight Memorial urges leaders to ensure all communities have equal access to HIV treatment and testing; evidence-based prevention; and care and support. Specific attention should be given to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children, young people, men who have sex with men, sex workers and people who use drugs.
Reducing Stigma & Discrimination
Communities around the world face HIV-related stigma, discrimination and human rights violations, particularly people living with HIV and key populations such as men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, sex workers and young people.
The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial urges community, faith and political leaders to fight discrimination through protecting the rights of affected groups and individuals, and fostering a supportive legal and policy environment.
Increasing Resources for HIV, Malaria, Tuberculosis and Other Related Issues
The needs of communities affected by HIV by far outpace the current resources allocated to meet them. The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial urges leaders to scale up their commitments to adequately address the scope and depth of HIV, including other burdens accompanying or enhancing its spread such as TB, malaria, sexually-transmitted diseases and opportunistic infections, and other contributing social and economic challenges.
Promoting Greater Involvement by People Living with HIV and Key Populations
Communities of people living with and affected by HIV are often neglected in the decision-making processes that aim to assist them in the first place. The GIPA principle calls for the Greater Involvement of People living with HIV in decisions and policies which influence their lives and has been internationally recognized since the Paris Summit of 1994.
The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial urges leaders to incorporate the voice of people living with and affected by HIV in the formulation of policy, as well as in the design and implementation of programmes. Their experience and opinions are essential to the global HIV response. This includes promoting the empowerment of women, young people and key populations.