HIV and sexual health charity, Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) is calling for people from the African community to get involved in World AIDS Day (December 1) this year, either by attending an event, making a donation to support local HIV services, or wearing a red ribbon to raise awareness.

World AIDS Day, which has been running every December since 1988, is dedicated to raising awareness of the disease. In the UK alone, more than 70,000 people are living with HIV and over 7,500 are diagnosed every year.

THT is inviting people of all ages to come along to a World AIDS Day event called “Take a lead – HIV is everyone’s business” on Saturday 1st December from 4.00pm – 9.00pm. This event is on at InSpire @ St. Peter’s Church, Liverpool Grove, London, SE17 2HH. Admission is free and includes African food and refreshments.

The event will start with a candle-lit vigil for anyone affected by HIV and AIDS. This will be a quiet space to remember those who have died with AIDS as well as celebrating the lives of those living with HIV. This will be followed by a talk from guest speaker, Her Excellency Mrs. Jane Rwabyomere from the Ugandan High Commission. The event will also celebrate African culture and a variety of performances including dance, music, poetry and drama will take place on the night.

Richard Lanek, African Health Promotion Manager at Terrence Higgins Trust says: “HIV has been around for 25 years now and many people have lost partners, family or friends. World AIDS Day is an opportunity for the community to remember those who have died and to celebrate the lives of those with HIV today. Even if they can’t attend we hope that local people will get involved in some way, perhaps donating to the cause or just wearing a red ribbon to raise awareness.”

This World AIDS Day event is part of the Harambee project which was set up to raise awareness of HIV and sexual health. Harambee, which means ‘pulling together’ in Swahili, began in February 2005 and is funded by the Big Lottery Fund. The Harambee project team gives advice on where to go for a free sexual health check-up, including referring people to THT’s Fastest services which offer free testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections within an hour.

For more information on the event or the Harambee project please contact Richard Lanek on 020 7812 1794/07919 400 302 or email harambeeproject@tht.org.uk

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