Looking Back, Facing Forward, on World AIDS Day 2016
World AIDS Day, December 1, is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and commemorate people who have died. It was the first global health day and has become one of the most recognized. Each year, CAMP Rehoboth acknowledges World AIDS Day with a Candlelight Walk, a Service of Remembrance and Hope, and other activities. This year’s theme, , refers to the importance of remembering those whose lives have been lost while focusing on the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Although AIDS was only identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died from it, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history. Tremendous progress has been made in treating HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and medical treatments provide a way to manage HIV so that it does not develop into AIDS, which reduces life expectancy to 1-3 years. For this reason, one of the goals of events such as World AIDS Day is to draw attention to the critical importance of testing and early treatment. Many people still do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others from HIV, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV.
This year, World AIDS Day events in Rehoboth on December 1 will begin with a pre-walk gathering and candle lighting at 6:15 p.m. at the Rehoboth Beach bandstand on Rehoboth Avenue at the Boardwalk. The Candlelight Walk will begin at the bandstand at 6:30 and proceed down Rehoboth Avenue, ending at All Saints’ Church, 18 Olive Avenue. A service of remembrance and hope will begin at 7 p.m. at the church and will include a reading of names of people whose lives were lost to AIDS. A light supper will follow at 7:45 p.m. All activities are free and open to the public.
“Every year we call our World AIDS Day program ‘A Service of Remembrance and Hope.’ In our eyes, the two things are inseparable,” says Glen Pruitt, event co-chair. “Looking back, we remember the loved ones we lost to HIV/AIDS. Those memories, and the recognition of how far we have come in fighting this disease, gives us hope. It inspires us as we face forward to work towards an AIDS-free world.”
To have the name of a family member or friend who has died from AIDS added to the list of names to be read at the service, call the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center at 302-227-5620.
Other sponsors include Epworth United Methodist Church, All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Christiana Care, Delaware HIV Consortium, AIDS Delaware, the Cape Gazette, and MCC Rehoboth. For more information on World AIDS Day, go to: unaids.org.
CAMP Rehoboth is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to celebrating diversity, building a strong sense of community, and “Creating a More Positive” environment for all people in Rehoboth Beach. For more information call 302-227-5620 or go to camprehoboth.com.