I remember my friend John. He was a remarkable man. He lived life by his own rules and he loved and lived with a passion and enthusiasm many of us long for. John touched my life in countless ways and was someone who believed in me long before I learned to believe in myself. John offered me his friendship and he changed my world. John helped me to see myself in a new light, to march to my own beat, to trust in my heart, and to trust in myself. John died of AIDS and every day I miss him dearly.
World AIDS Day is celebrated on December 1 each year around the world. It has become one of the most recognized international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.
On December 1, to commemorate World AIDS Day, we are all are being asked to Light for Rights. Shine the light of awareness on HIV/AIDS by participating in community activities based on the global Light for Rights campaign, highlighting HIV and human rights.
Human rights are often at the very centre of the epidemic, not just globally, but domestically as well. Whether it’s the issue of equitable access to health care and treatment, personal privacy, discrimination or education, to name just a few, human rights play a significant role in shaping the evolution of HIV in our country.
You can shine the light of awareness by:
- Organizing a Light for Rights event at your school or church, or in association with any other local community you are part of. For more information, visit: http://www.lightforrights.org/assets/site/OrganizeAnEvent.pdf.
- Learning more about HIV/AIDS in Canada by visiting the website of your local AIDS service organization (AIDS New Brunswick and Canadian AIDS Society) or by reading information sheets dealing with HIV in Canada, HIV/AIDS and human rights, and Living with HIV.
- Volunteering at your local AIDS service organization.
- Donating funds to support the prevention, education, care and support services that community AIDS service organizations offer.
- Talking about HIV and human rights with your family, friends and members of your entourage.
- Wearing red on World AIDS day to show your support and solidarity for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Let’s put the spotlight on all the ways we can promote human rights and make our country a better place to live for people living with and at risk of HIV.
Turn it on. Let your light shine. Open your heart and mind to cast a new light on HIV/AIDS.