Belated vigil for World Aids Day

HIV CANDLELIT VIGIL   l/r: Jean Rickard and Holly Dannhauser with Joy Beardsley of the Sheena Amos Youth Trust, light candles at the candlelit vigil at the winter Garden.   10 January 2010

HIV CANDLELIT VIGIL l/r: Jean Rickard and Holly Dannhauser with Joy Beardsley of the Sheena Amos Youth Trust, light candles at the candlelit vigil at the winter Garden. 10 January 2010

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IT may have been a month late but the candles at Sheffield’s commemoration of World Aids Day burned as brightly as ever.

After ceremonies on December 1 were postponed because of heavy snow, a small but passionate crowd attended the rescheduled event at the Winter Garden on Tuesday.

It was to remember those who have

died from HIV and Aids and to

highlight the stigma and prejudice experienced by people living with the disease.

Council health spokesman Coun Steve Ayris, who led the candlelit vigil, said: “There are 61,000 people in the UK diagnosed as having HIV. From this city there are 501 residents who are diagnosed HIV positive.

“That’s lower than the national average but the sadder fact is that around 25%

to 30% of HIV infections go

undiagnosed.”

Steve Slack, director of Sheffield Primary Care Trust’s centre for HIV and sexual health, said the vigil was “an opportunity for remembrance, reflection and contemplation” and a reminder “that HIV has not gone away”.