THE community will gather to remember those who have died since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic at a candlelight memorial tomorrow in Melbourne.

This year’s event looks to highlight HIV and AIDS on domestic and international agendas, with the theme “Let’s keep the light on HIV”.

As well as serving as a memorial, the event encourages a focus on looking forward to universal access to HIV treatment and an end to HIV-related stigma and discrimination.

Organised by Living Positive Victoria, the event is part of the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, with HIV and AIDS-affected communities around the world taking part.

“We’re proud to be a part of this vital network who gain strength from their communities standing in solidarity with them on this day,”

Melbourne Council is also supporting the memorial, which will bring attention to the city’s communities affected by HIV and AIDS in the lead up to the AIDS 2014 conference in Melbourne in July.

“Around the world the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is being led by the global community of people living with HIV,” Living Positive Victoria’s executive officer Brent Allen told the Star Observer.

“We especially think of our brothers and sisters living with HIV, in communities around the world where because of criminalisation, fear, stigma and discrimination, cannot stand out in public together in the way we can here in Melbourne. We will stand proudly thinking of them in our united fight against HIV related stigma and discrimination.”

Last month organisers in Sydney announced they would move the Sydney vigil from World AIDS Day in December to May to participate in the international event.

The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial will take place on Sunday, 18 May at City Square in Melbourne, from 5pm until 6.15pm.

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