Key landmarks in Dublin City were lit up in red light to mark World AIDS Day 2019 this weekend. The Mansion House, home of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, City Hall on Dame street, seat of Dublin City Council, Bank of Ireland College Green, and the rooftop of Liberty Hall were all bathed in scarlet, the traditional colour of HIV awareness, to mark the occasion. Also participating is the world-famous Guinness Storehouse in Dublin which has been lit on all sides in bright red light to raise awareness of HIV related stigma.
The initiative coincided with a reception to mark World AIDS Day 2019 hosted by Lord Mayor of Dublin Paul McAuliffe. The reception was held to pay tribute to work of HIV Ireland, its volunteers and supporters and to raise awareness of HIV-related stigma and the need to further improve prevention and treatment strategies in line with Dublin’s commitments under the global Fast Track Cities initiative.
Speaking at the event Lord Mayor McAuliffe said “I am delighted to host this event to pay tribute to HIV Ireland, it’s staff and board and the very many volunteers and funders who support their work. As a partner in the Fast Track Cities initiative, we are committed to working together to help achieve the goals of increased awareness among people living with HIV of their status, a greater number of people on effective treatment and end to new HIV transmissions in the coming years.”
In 2019, Dublin joined the global Fast Track Cities initiative. Under the initiative, cities commit to the 90-90-90 targets. That is, 90 per cent of people living with HIV knowing their HIV status, 90 percent of those people on effective treatment and 90 percent of people on effective treatment having an undetectable viral load. A person who maintains an undetectable viral load cannot transmit the virus to intimate partners through sexual intercourse, thereby reducing the spread of HIV.
“We are delighted and humbled that the Lord Mayor has chosen to host this reception in support of HIV Ireland and our work” said Stephen O’Hare, Executive Director of HIV Ireland, “and we are very grateful to Dublin City Council, SIPTU and Guinness Ireland for marking World AIDS Day in this way. Visibility matters,” he added.
“The strides we are making in both prevention and treatment of HIV, as evidenced in the recent role out of a national free PrEP [Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis] programme for at risk individuals, must be matched by progress in tackling the suffocating stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV in Dublin,” continued Mr O’Hare. “The theme of this year’s World AIDS day is ‘Communities Make the Difference’ and it is through increased awareness, education and acceptance within the wider Dublin community that any significant change in attitudes will occur. Our board and staff, volunteers and supporters will continue our work to foster a more informed and more inclusive society but it is through greater awareness and acceptance by the wider community that real inclusion of people living with HIV will occur,” he added.
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