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World Aids Day marked with ceremonies

Wirral testing project of LGBT community announced

Written by . Published on December 4th 2012.


World Aids Day marked with ceremonies

WORLD AIDS Day was marked at the weekend with events across the city in memory of those who have died from AIDS, but also to celebrate the achievements of those living with it.

A service at St Bride’s Church was led by Kate from Sahir House, which provides support, information and training in relation to HIV. She was joined by the church's vicar, Rev Guy Elsmore, and by Father Kevin Kelly, in leading a blessing.

On Saturday night, St George's Hall was the scene for reflections on the theme of "HIV In a Changing World". The MCs were Tommy McIlravey, chief executive of Sahir House, and Martin Fenerty from the Armistead Centre.

McIlravey revealed plans to introduce a programme aimed at the LGBT population on the Wirral. Referring to reports that up to 25,000 people in the UK may have HIV without knowing it, he stressed the need for people to get tested.

Lord Mayor Sharon Sullivan pointed out that a survey had shown 70 percent of British people felt there was a stigma around being HIV+, while 20 percent of people with HIV said they had been assaulted or verbally abused.

Performance

Dr Mark Lawton, a consultant in Sexual Health and HIV at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, described the history of the condition and, while welcoming progress in treatment, noted with concern that there has been an increase in cases among gay men. He stressed early diagnosis boosted life expectancy.

The gathering was also addressed by three people living with HIV, Nicola, Olivia and Paul, who paid tribute to all who had given them help and support.

After a performance by the Sense of Sound Singers, Fenerty urged people to lobby councillors and MPs about the impact of cuts on health services.

The gathering was told that Sahir House had received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project tracing the history of HIV on Merseyside over the past 30 years. It will culminate in an exhibition in the National Museum in 2014. Those interested in getting involved should call to Sahir House or use the contact details below.

Sahir House is located at 151 Dale Street L2 2AH, and may be contacted at (0151)2373989 or at info@sahir.uk.com.

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