CAMPAIGNERS, volunteers, family and friends marked World Aids Day with a candlelit vigil.

They gathered at New Steine Gardens in Brighton at the Tay Aids memorial statue, where the names of those in the city who died of the disease were read out.

Charities including the Sussex Beacon, Terrence Higgins Trust, Lunch Positive and the Rainbow Hub helped to organise the event.

Councillor Amanda Grimshaw, the city council’s lead member for equalities, said: “World Aids Day is an opportunity for us to come together in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV and commemorate those who have died from an Aids-related illness.

“It’s important because it reminds us all that HIV has not gone away. There are more than 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK and still a vital need to increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in the Brighton and Hove World Aids Day Community Partnership for putting on these events, and all those who work hard to provide vital support services in the city.”

Politicians including General Election candidates Lloyd Russell-Moyle and Caroline Lucas spoke at the vigil.

Brighton and Hove city councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty said the council should focus on preventing HIV throughout the city.

“It is vital that our city leads the way on preventing HIV and supporting people facing unacceptable discrimination,” the Green leader said.

“It is this horrific stigma that often stops people from testing, even though with early diagnosis, people with HIV can be supported to live long and healthy lives.

“Greens have repeatedly raised the alarm that successive years of cuts to sexual health and HIV budgets could be putting HIV prevention work at risk.

“In the face of repeated council cuts to sexual health budgets, Greens successfully amended the budget to reverse damaging cuts to sexual health services.”

Cllr Mac Cafferty called on the Labour council to commit to providing long-term provision of HIV and sexual health services.

“While we join together to commemorate those who lost their lives, and acknowledge steps forward in the fight to end the Aids epidemic, we can never allow ourselves to go backwards,” he said.

“HIV and Aids can be prevented if political will allows.”

Meanwhile there was also a Lunch Positive community buffet held at the Dorset Gardens Methodist Church. Jubilee Library hosted the Living Positively Exhibition, which details how World Aids Day is marked around the world, and gave those living with HIV a chance to tell their story.

The library is also running the Brighton and Hove Aids Memorial Exhibition until Sunday, December 15. It includes an exhibition about the making of “Tay”, the Brighton and Hove Aids Memorial, including a mini replica, and a video featuring its designer and sculptor Romany Mark Bruce.

The Brighton and Hove “Hankie Quilt” is on display until December 15 in the main windows of Jubilee Library.

World Aids Day is remembered every December 1 around the world. The statue has been the focal point in Brighton since it was unveiled ten years ago.