HIV patients gather to participate in Chennai candlelight memorial

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Chennai, May 22 (ANI): HIV patients gathered here on Friday to participate in the 27th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Day.

Organised by the Indian Community Welfare Organisation, the day was observed by HIV affected people.

Starting from 1983, the third Sunday of May is observed as the International AIDS Candle Light Memorial Day every year.

"Today, we are celebrating Global HIV Action and in solidarity with struggles of the HIV people. We are actually observing this candlelight programme today to appeal to the government to ensure the rights of the HIV affected women and children specially," said Amar, Director of Action Aids.

Under International AIDS Candle Light Memorial Day, various themes were there to commemorate the lives lost and in support of people living with HIV/AIDS.

The focus of this year's International AIDS Candle Light Memorial was on protection.

"We are celebrating the 27th International Candlelight Day, its a marking of the stigma discrimination with the People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH) and we all come together NGO, and collective of (PLWH) network to address stigma discrimination and give a life dignity for people living with HIV AIDS in India," said Hariharan, organiser of the AIDS candlelight.

Dignitaries shared their views on the issue with lighted candles in memory of the lives lost to HIV/AIDS as well as those living with the virus.

People stressed that HIV people have to be protected and given equal status and stop stigma.

According to the figures of 2007, about 2.5 million people are living with HIV in India. (ANI)

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