Ireland will Glow Red this World AIDS Day to fight HIV stigma

Join the fight against HIV-related stigma by wearing red on World AIDS Day as part of the Glow RED campaign launched by HIV Ireland.

Photo of Rebecca Tallon de Havilland, ambassador for the GLOW RED campaign by HIV Ireland, and an HIV red ribbon.
Image: Barialai Khoshhal

To mark this year’s World AIDS Day on December 1, HIV Ireland has launched its Glow RED campaign, aiming to eliminate HIV-related stigma by 2030. Buildings all over Ireland will light up in red to raise awareness about the stigma that people living with HIV face.

Glow RED is an annual initiative launched by the aforementioned organisation to stand in solidarity and show support to people living with HIV. The group announced that this year’s ambassador for the initiative is none other than campaigner and former GCN cover star Rebecca Tallon de Havilland.

Starting on the night of November 30 until December 1, prominent buildings across Ireland will participate in the campaign in honour of World AIDS Day. On the occasion, HIV Ireland is also inviting people to “glow red” by wearing red clothes symbolising their individual support to ending HIV-related stigma.

World AIDS Day is an annual occurrence first established by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1988 to shed a light on the stigma faced by people living with HIV. 2022 marks 40 years since the first reports of HIV and AIDS cases in Ireland in 1982. Even though a long time has passed since then, HIV remains a significant public health issue in our country.

Nowadays, people living with HIV still face stigma rooted in misconceptions and moral judgement about HIV, which can lead to discrimination and exclusion. This impacts their mental health and general wellbeing, and acts as a barrier to accessing services and opportunities, not to mention how it deters people vulnerable to acquiring HIV from testing.

If you wish to be part of the fight against HIV-related stigma, there are a number of things you can do. First and foremost, you can donate to HIV Ireland, an association that has advocated for the lives of those impacted by HIV since 1987.

You can also take part in their Glow RED campaign by taking a picture of your lit-up building or of yourself wearing red, and post it on Twitter on December 1, using the hashtag #GLOWRED4WAD and tagging @HIVIreland. Moreover, you can order the special edition enamel pin created for the Glow RED campaign. All proceeds from the sale of this pin will help fund HIV Ireland’s work on ending stigma.

In addition to this powerful campaign, there are a series of events across Ireland organised to commemorate World AIDS Day this year. On November 26, you can become an Ambassador against HIV stigma and encourage people to test regularly by participating in the 2022 World AIDS Day Run hosted by the Sexual Health Centre, the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme and Parkrun.

After having to pause it due to Covid-19, HIV Ireland is bringing back its Red Ball on December 1, its annual corporate fundraising gala at Guinness Storehouse. On the same day, Irish Aid Annual Professor Father Michael J Kelly will hold a lecture on HIV and AIDS at Dublin’s Smock Alley Theatre from 5pm to 7pm, with this year’s theme being ‘HIV in a time of Crisis’.

There are also ways for people outside of Dublin to mark the occasion. December 1 is the day when the powerful documentary film How To Tell A Secret opens in cinemas across Ireland. Starring activist Robbie Lawlor and drag icon Veda, the film is an exploration of the experiences of people living with HIV in today’s Ireland.

St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church will be the place to go in Galway for the annual World AIDS Day Concert, hosted by Sexual Health West. And if you’re around Belfast on the day, you might want to pop by the Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC) where the Living exhibition created by HIV Ireland and GCN will be displayed.

Additionally, if you wish, you could also host your own ‘Wear Red’ event to raise awareness about HIV in your workplace, college or school and participate in the Glow RED campaign.

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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