It’s time for an Irish AIDS Memorial – Senator Fintan Warfield
Sinn Féin spokesperson for LGBTQI rights Senator Fintan Warfield has called for the Government to back proposals for an Irish AIDS Memorial on World AIDS day 2018.
The proposal is for a physical site of remembrance that can serve as a place to grieve and remember loss and give hope to the future, because significant advances have been made in treatment and methods of prevention.
Senator Warfield said:
“An Irish AIDS Memorial would enable communities to memorialise loss and grief, allowing us to better value and share the coping mechanisms and survival strategies of a previous generation.
“AIDS memorials exist in Toronto, New York City and Durban.
“While conditions for people living with HIV have vastly improved, remnants of stigma and prejudice remain.
“According to a ‘HIV in Ireland 2017’ report, 24% of people incorrectly believed that HIV can be transmitted through kissing, while 9% incorrectly believed that the virus can pass through contact with a toilet seat. Perhaps even more worrying – the misconceptions heightened amongst young people.
“A memorial will act as a reminder that the fight to eradicate HIV/AIDS is far from over. In this state, HIV transmission rates are 8.7% higher than they were last year.
“Simple government policy changes such as accessible PrEP, investment in testing and inclusive sex education would completely reverse this trend like it has done elsewhere in San Francisco and London.
“Government should support a memorial in consultation with civil and civic society. It would represent a commitment to HIV prevention, and act as a tool of acceptance by a state that has historically served on the side of stigma. I call on them to make this commitment.”