Government leaders mark World AIDS Day at Dublin Castle

The Taoiseach and Tánaiste were joined by Ministers Eamonn Ryan and Stephen Donnelly to stand with the red ribbon and show solidarity to those living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.

Government leaders pose with the red ribbon outside Dublin Castle for World AIDS Day 2021.
Image: Twitter: @HIVIreland

To kickstart the commemoration of  World AIDS Day 2021, Irish Government leaders displayed their support for the occasion by attending an event spearheaded by HIV Ireland. Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD, Minister Eamonn Ryan TD, and Minister Stephen Donnelly TD, posed with a red ribbon outside Dublin Castle, as landmark monuments and buildings around the country are set to light up in red today, thanks to the ‘Glow Red for World AIDS Day’ campaign.

Ahead of the event, HIV Ireland Chair, Bernard Condon, said: “This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the emergence of HIV and AIDS in 1981. Advances in both prevention and treatment mean that we have all the tools we need to end new HIV transmissions.

“To be successful, however, we must also tackle HIV-related stigma which continues to blight the lives of people living with HIV and provides unnecessary barriers to accessing testing and other preventive options which are freely available in Ireland.”

Executive Director of HIV Ireland, Stephen O’Hare, added to this, noting, “People living with HIV often experience stigma.”

“Stigma arises from negative attitudes and beliefs. It is rooted in fear, misconceptions, or moral judgments. Stigma can lead to discrimination and exclusion. Experiencing HIV-related stigma may impact a person’s mental and emotional wellbeing. It may prevent them from accessing services or seeking opportunities”

In order to combat this stigma, more than 50 buildings and monuments in Ireland will light up red for the ‘Glow Red for World AIDS Day’ campaign. Iconic landmarks such as the fountain at Government Buildings, the US Embassy building at Ballsbridge, the Rock of Cashel, the Mansion House, Kilkenny Castle, the National Convention Centre and the Browne Doorway in Galway are all taking part in the initiative.

Organisations such as Google, Deloitte, EY, Arthur Cox, Indeed, State Street, PWC and Sky Ireland will also support HIV Ireland’s campaign.

After gathering with his fellow Government leaders at Dublin Castle, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar took to Twitter to mark World AIDS Day, and encourage people to get tested.

“On #WorldAIDSDay, we remember the other pandemic. Make sure you know your status in 2022. It’s one of the best ways to stop the spread. Govt will continue to implement the Sexual Health Strategy – education, testing, treatment, PrEP, HPV vaccines,” his Tweet reads.

As part of its programme of events celebrating World AIDS Day 2021, HIV Ireland is also teaming up with GCN to launch LIVING: A unique portrayal of people living with HIV in Ireland. The first-of-its-kind photographic exhibition will open in CHQ Dublin with a special event kickstarting at 7 PM on Wednesday, December 1.

Tickets for the launch hosted by Panti Bliss are still available, and the exhibition will be available to view until December 10.

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

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