International Day of HIV

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A vast amount of citizens in Thessaloniki and people from the suburbs attended the event against HIV and AIDS prevention every year. There is also one organised in Athens, Amsterdam and other European cities, as well as American. It proves to be a successful event as it’s raising awareness concerning HIV and AIDS issues. So far, the message has been spread to the population with great success. The team fighting for HIV prevention, during the 1st of December 2017, in Thessaloniki, consisted of 22 people, 15 of whom were volunteers.

Honorable mentions goes to Positive Voice because without them this article would not be possible and also to TOMS, a worldwide charity store selling shoes and giving out part of the profit to the poor. They help with eyesight recovery, support creation of wells in developing countries, and aiding safer birth. TOMS in Thessaloniki has helped by selling heart-shaped cookies with red ribbons, in order to spread awareness towards the event and AIDS matter.

Ioanna from TOMS Team supporting International Day of HIV in Thessaloniki

The idea behind the concept is spread by activists fighting for people living with AIDS. On December 1st (World Aids Day), and on February 13’th (International Condom Day), there are events that Positive Voice is supporting, regardless the weather. These are their main events. Other ones occur during the year, such as their participation in festivals and in the European Testing Week, in November. Positive Voice is sponsored by AHF and AHF Europe, and other organizations such as Radcliffe Foundation, Stavros Niachos, and Latsis Foundations. Their main side goal is to eliminate stigma for people living with HIV and AIDS by raising awareness via giving precise information and counselling.

During latest event, on International Day Against AIDS, Positive voice invited musicians and bands, and illuminated The White Tower, the city’s landmark: «We have invited musicians and bands like Paranaue the percussionists, and we have also planned to illuminate the White Tower and project this year’s message “Keep the promise”. Another idea is to form the red ribbon with the use of a very long, red cloth at the center of the square.»

They have met some challenges on their way, mainly advocacy issues. Also Positive Voice has fought for better health conditions which Ministry of Health provided to people living with HIV/AIDS, who have been deprived of the most vital medical exam of their viral load for almost 2 years now. What has greatly changed is the fact that, after 4 years of active participation, Positive Voice are more familiarised and have no longer difficulties coordinating it. Also, people feel more comfortable with the concept, specially due to better information vehicles and dessimination by the counselors of Positive Voice and Checkpoint.

Positive Voice has collaborated with ther organizations, in order to plan and run the event:
Greek CDC
Municipality of Thessaloniki
Center for Life
Thess Erasmus
The Greek Company of Study and Confrontation of AIDS ( greek acronym: ΕΕΜΑΑ)
Other charity organizations we work with are:
AHF Europe
Radcliffe Foundation
Stavros Niarchos Foundation

Post Author: Pawel Marchenko