Candle light memorial to focus on Touching Lives

St. Maarten will join the rest of the world on Sunday in marking the observance of the 28th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial. Most other countries held their observance ceremony last week, however the finishing touches were being placed on a very special evening for the St. Maarten population.


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"The theme this year is Touching Lives and so we wanted to really ensure that our observance will do just that, touch people in a manner that helps them to understand that those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS remain a part of our community and there is no need to shun them. We are also seeking to yet again give comfort to those whose lives were touched by someone who lived with HIV and AIDS and has now left for eternal rest," HIV/AIDS Programme Manager Suzette Moses Burton said.

"To some touching lives seems a tall order, but we can do it every day in simple ways like a smile when we think no one is looking, an e-mail that helps to brighten a person’s day, the wearing of a red ribbon or sharing in a remembrance like the one we have planned for Sunday," Moses Burton added.

This year’s memorial will, like in previous years, combine speeches with cultural performances. The speeches will give community leaders and people directly involved in the work of HIV and AIDS a chance to tell the community where we are in the fight against what is still a global pandemic. The cultural performances are meant to show in a creative way that life continues in spite of HIV and AIDS, and should be celebrated.

This year’s memorial will be held at the Philipsburg Community and Cultural Center and begins promptly at 6:30 p.m. The hosting of this grassroots event is a partnership between the HIV/AIDS Program Management Team, the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation and H.O.P.E., the support group of persons living with HIV/AIDS. People who cannot attend are urged to take a moment to light a candle in their home.