December 3rd's World AIDS Day Memorial Service was both somber and uplifting. The fantastic speakers put it well-- we have come so far over the past 37 years since the start of the HIV epidemic, but there is still further to travel. Medications have made it so that people living with HIV may live full, healthy, and prosperous lives and that no child has to be born with HIV. However, stigma still plagues our globe and hinders people from accessing tools for HIV prevention, care, and treatment.
Too many people in Papua New Guinea would prefer to live with the virus in secret rather than seek care, due to discrimination. At Links of Hope, we're calling for a Stigma Free PNG! We hope to see the end of children losing parents due to HIV or having to navigate HIV themselves.
The memorial service consisted of a keynote speech by Mr. Valentine Tangoh from the National AIDS Council Secretariat, heartfelt memorials by representatives from the Links of Hope team, an inspiring speech from a Links of Hope caregiver, a candle light vigil, and signing of the Remembrance Banner. Put particularly well by a representative from Anglicare PNG, "[The memorial service] was a special and meaningful program with the beautiful people and we absolutely enjoyed the Service with many positive smiles and energy among the beneficiaries, staff and partners. Thanks for inviting Anglicare to be part of the program and we pray and hope Links of Hope will progress well into communities to reach more to stamp out HIV stigma and transmission."
A special thank you to the PNG National AIDS Council Secretariat and Mr. Valentine Tangoh for the keynote address. Thank you to the attending stakeholders: Anglicare PNG, Businesses4Health, FHI360 PNG, and The Salvation Army . And as always, a big thank you to the wonderful Links of Hope caregivers and children who participated.
Together, we can win this fight!