Potsdam AIDS Education Group holding Memorial service on Wednesday

The Daily Courier | April 22, 2013

Members of the AIDS Education Group at State University of New York - Potsdam are hosted a candlelight memorial service to acknowledge the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the world.

POTSDAM - In conjunction with the Global Network of People Living with HIV, the SUNY Potsdam AIDS Education Group will take part in the 30th annual Candlelight Memorial Service to acknowledge the impact of the epidemic on the world.

This event will take place on Wednesday, April 24 at 6 p.m. in the Academic Quad near the Frederick W. Crumb Memorial Library. This annual memorial is one of the largest and oldest grassroots mobilization campaigns for HIV/AIDS awareness in the world.

For 30 years, the candlelight memorial has brought people together in every region of the world to honor those lost to AIDS and demonstrate the importance of civil society, a movement in step with the spread of the disease itself. As per tradition, participants will light candles and walk around the perimeter of the SUNY Potsdam campus.

This year’s theme, “In Solidarity,” includes volunteer candlelight coordinators in 115 countries. Last year, more than 200,000 people worldwide participated in the memorial service. Again this year, participants will be able to track their event via a world map provided by the Global Health Council, at www.candlelightmemorial.org.

This event marks the culmination of a successful academic year of Potsdam AIDS Education Group HIV/AIDS awareness activities. Douglas Weiss, a long-term HIV survivor, served as the guest speaker for World AIDS Day on campus. In February, the group worked on joint programming with Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York. The teams worked together to bring Dr. Stephen Lee, senior director of country management and support for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation to the event. Dr. Lee addressed the global concerns of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and efforts to reduce and eventually eliminate this mode of transmission.

The Candlelight Memorial Service is an opportunity to educate about AIDS, advocate for policy change, foster partnerships and community dialogue and improve skills for community mobilization. With 33 million people estimated to be infected with HIV worldwide, the memorial serves as an important uniting intervention, breaking down social barriers and giving hope to future generations.