World Aids Day ribbon unveiled on Brighton's Level

The Argus: World Aids Day ribbon unveiled on Brighton's Level World Aids Day ribbon unveiled on Brighton's Level

A record-breaking giant ribbon was unveiled during a special ceremony to mark World Aids Day.

The eye-catching 45-metre red Aids awareness ribbon was one of several events taking place around Brighton and Hove yesterday afternoon.

It was organised by Horsham-based HIV and Aids charity Avert in partnership with the Brighton World AIDS Day Community Partnership (a coalition of local HIV organisations), and several other international organisations.

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas kicked off the ceremony at The Level, Brighton, as volunteers helped will lay out the ribbon, a symbol of awareness and support for people living with HIV.

The aim was to remind passers-by that HIV is a daily reality for communities across the world and that it can affect anyone.

Avert chief executive Rosemary Gillespie said: “Avert is going big with the world’s largest Aids awareness ribbon, to remind people that HIV is not a thing of the past.

“We are making great strides in combating HIV, but there is still more to do to ensure HIV prevention initiatives are reaching those who need it, and that support for the 35 million people currently living with HIV worldwide is sustained.”

Later in the day there was a candlelit vigil at the Aids Memorial in New Steine Gardens, Kemp Town, and a service of remembrance and solidarity at Dorset Gardens Church.

An exhibition is being held at the Jubilee Library until Thursday and another, called 100 Artists for World Aids Day, is on show in the Founders Room at The Dome until December 8.

All artwork at The Dome event is for sale and 20% of any sales will be donated to the Brighton-based Sussex Beacon, which cares for people whose lives are affected by HIV and Aids.

Organiser Hizze Fletcher said: “HIV is an indiscriminate disease which is reflected in the exhibition by the diversity of the artists involved and their artwork.

“Despite popular belief HIV is on the increase globally so it’s very important for us all to keep bringing awareness via World Aids Day.”

Brighton and Hove has the highest prevalence of people with HIV outside of London.

Chairman of the city council’s adult care and health committee, Rob Jarrett, said: “World Aids Day gives us the opportunity to show our support for those fighting against HIV, and those who have passed away as a result of the condition.

“Around 100,000 are currently living with HIV in the UK, but a quarter of them aren’t aware that they have the virus. However the number of people getting tested in Brighton and Hove is on the up.

“As a result our late diagnosis levels are at about 30%, much lower than national levels of about 50%.

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