New iconic Cork mural celebrates World AIDS Day 2021

A mural has been commissioned in Cork as they host a World AIDS Day run on Saturday, December 4 to mark 40 years of HIV.

Photograph of the Cork mural for World AIDS Day 2021. The mural is painted onto a light pink background with a dancing grey figure wrapped in a red AIDS ribbon. On the wall is green text which reads
Image: Sexual Health Centre

Cork has some great initiatives to mark World AIDS Day 2021 with a focus on breaking down stigma surrounding HIV, including a new mural commission, a fun run and an online discussion.

As part of the celebrations, the Sexual Health Centre has launched the ‘End HIV Stigma’ programme. The initiative is a collaborative community project in partnership with ACT UP and Positive Cork. One of the key features of the project is a newly commissioned mural on Grattan Street. 

The Cork mural aims to shine a light on the stigma attached to HIV, with the tagline “Positive people live positive lives”.

The commission for the Cork mural was led by Elinor O’Donovan from the Sexual Health Centre and was designed in consultation with a number of people living with HIV.


She explains, “Medical advances have ensured that people in Ireland can live full, healthy lives with HIV. So, in the last 40 years, how we treat HIV has significantly improved, but how we treat people living with HIV has not.

“I’m hoping that this mural brings the harmful stigma faced by People Living With HIV into public conversation, and highlights that many HIV Positive people are living positive lives.”

To officially launch the ‘End HIV Stigma’ project, the Sexual Health Centre will host an in-person and online panel discussion on Wednesday, December 1 at 12:30. The event, which will take place at Firkin Crane on John Redmond Street, will be free to attend but registration is necessary. Book your ticket here.

On Saturday 4th of December, the Sexual Health Centre will also host its annual World AIDS Day run in conjunction with the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme (SHCPP), Parkrun and Healthy Ireland. The run aims to highlight free rapid HIV testing services, and to tackle HIV stigma.

According to the agency, it is estimated that over 7,000 people in Ireland are living with HIV today. About 15% of that number don’t know that they have HIV as they have never been tested or have contracted HIV since their last test.

Ciarán Lynch, Chairperson of the Sexual Health Centre points out, “People Living With HIV, who take treatment daily as prescribed and achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load have no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to a HIV-negative partner.”


The World AIDS Day run has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2018. This year, the run will be hosted in partnership with Parkruns in Ballincollig Regional Park, Glen River Park and Tralee Town Park.

In light of public health measures, this year’s run is also being held ‘virtually’ so that those who are not attending a Parkrun venue can participate in their local community instead. People across the country are asked to register here.

For anyone registered to participate in the run, the Sexual Health Centre will send a free World AIDS Day dri-fit top to all participants. On Saturday, December 4, each participant will wear the dri-fit t-shirt for a walk or run to open a dialogue, highlight testing services, and address stigma in their communities.


Finally, Cork City Hall will also mark World AIDS Day by going red as part of HIV Ireland‘s Glow Red campaign. The landmark building will become one of over 50 buildings lit up in red to mark the event.

In similar news, GCN will also mark World AIDS Day with the exhibition Living – a collaboration with HIV Ireland. An innovative, first-of-its-kind photographic exhibition showcasing inspiring portraits of people Living With HIV in Irelands taken by the wonderfully talented Hazel Coonagh, the exhibition will also highlight the stories of those involved alongside their messages of support for the community.

Tickets for the launch of LIVING at CHQ in Dublin are available online from Eventbrite here.


© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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