Home News Local news CANDLELIGHT VIGIL TO MARK WORLD AIDS DAY

CANDLELIGHT VIGIL TO MARK WORLD AIDS DAY

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World AIDS Day is being observed Wednesday, Dec. 1, with a 6 to 8 p.m. candlelight ceremony at Emancipation Garden.
The theme of World AIDS Day, which was first observed in 1988, is "AIDS – End the Silence. Listen, Learn, Live!"
The observance is intended to encourage public support and development of programs to prevent the spread of HIV infection worldwide. The virus is widespread in the Virgin Islands.
Guest speakers at the vigil will be Monique Joseph, director of juvenile intensive support services, who will address "The impact of HIV/AIDS in the Virgin Islands," and Denise Stokes, member of President Clinton's HIV/AIDS Advisory Counsel and an HIV motivational speaker.
Representatives from the National Minority AIDS Council and the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center will also speak at the vigil. There will be a clarinet solo by Prof. Austin Venzen of the University of the Virgin Islands music faculty. Refreshments will be served.
Stokes will also speak on Iris Kern's "Opening Doors" radio program on WVWI/Radio One between 7:30 and 9 a.m. Wednesday, and at 3 p.m. on Ms. Jay's radio show on WSTA/Lucky 13.
Nyasha Mutunhu, American Red Cross HIV/AIDS prevention specialist and the local World AIDS Day planning committee chair, will also make presentations Wednesday at Nisky Moravian School at 9 a.m. and at New Horizon School at 11:30 a.m. She has presentations at the island's high schools scheduled for later this week.
A grant received earlier this year by the local Red Cross chapter from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in enabling the chapter to disseminate information on HIV/AIDS.
"We have a difficult job before us to get the information out to the public," Mutunhu said. "Testing for AIDS still holds a stigma in the minds of many, and this is really too bad. There should be greater understanding of the disease. It can be prevented."

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