SASOD’s AIDS candlelight memorial illuminates need for end to stigma
The Society Against Sex-ual Orientation Discrim-ination (SASOD) held its 5th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial on the steps of the St George’s Cathedral on Sunday highlighting the need for stigma reduction.
The activity was held under the theme “Let’s Keep the Light on HIV,” and Managing Director of SASOD Joel Simpson acknowledged that getting members of the communities to participate in large numbers continues to be a challenge.
Speaking at the event activist Desiree Edghill stated that the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS has a far way to go. She recalled that in 1994 when one of the first candlelight vigils was held “people were hiding and peeping to see who were lighting candles so they would know who had HIV in Guyana and even though some people came with their candles they were afraid to even go and light them.”
Edghill said that now during the various activities held throughout the year people would come out in droves. She said that stigma reduction was tied to the community at large and that persons had to assess themselves and address others with a level of support and respect before there can be a real reduction in stigma.