100,000 expected for AIDS memorial

May 17, 2012 at 2:22 AM
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ABUJA, Nigeria, May 17 (UPI) -- The theme of the 29th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is promoting health and dignity together, the Nigerian organizer said.

"The theme aims to raise awareness around HIV and to promote respect for the human rights of people living with HIV," Mayowa Joel, Candlelight Memorial Coordinator in Nigeria, said in a statement. "The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is a vivid reminder of our continuous battle against a very deadly disease. Remembering the friends and loved ones we lost to AIDS is essential in this time of dwindling funds and ever changing global health and development priorities that threaten the advances we have made to stop AIDS."

An estimated 100,000 people worldwide are expected to commemorate the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Sunday to remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS and to support those living with HIV and affected by its impact, Joel said.

UNAIDS estimated 34 million people globally were living with HIV. Increasing access to HIV treatment has aided efforts to stabilize the epidemic, but 1.8 million people die annually of AIDS related diseases, and an estimated 2.7 million people become newly infected each year, the agency said.

At least 390,000 children annually are born with HIV -- something that is wholly preventable with current medical knowledge, Joel said.

Information for the event is at: http://www.candlelightmemorial.org.

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