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30 International AIDS Candlelight memorial held Sunday in Philipsburg

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The 30 International AIDS Candlelight memorial was held on Sunday evening at the Philipsburg Community and Cultural Center.

The memorial was organized by the the H.O.P.E Foundation in collaboration with the HIV/AIDS Programme Management Team and the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation.

 

The objective of the Candlelight Memorial is to give a tribute to those who passed on as a result of AIDS.

 

The organizers further note that annual grass roots memorial event is a tribute to those living among us with HIV, bringing them courage to live positively with their positive status.

 

It is also a tribute to those who work tirelessly for HIV prevention, who strive for more understanding and compassion in the community and who donate time, funds and effort to overcome HIV and its ill effects.

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According to Keynote Speaker at candlelight memorial Krish Budhrani this year we enter the fourth decade of HIV/AIDS with some success stories - we have gone several years without seeing a baby born with HIV on St. Maarten.

 

More and more people are aware of infection risks and more are getting tested for HIV. In 2012, the AIDS Foundation conducted more than 900 HIV tests.

 

These were all voluntary testing, not those prescribed by doctors.

 

People are more aware of the importance of knowing their status. There is a higher level of awareness on the methods to avoid this entirely preventable infection Budhrani noted.

 

Also on Sunday evening the recipient of the Elton Jones Memorial Award was announced by Anthea Guy, revealing the winner Mrs. Cassilda van der Neut.

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