THE National Arboretum Canberra has opened a new 500–square metre AIDS Garden of Reflection.

Part of a series of seven connected gardens, it serves as a permanent space for people to remember and pay tribute to loved ones who have lost their lives to AIDS.

National Arboretum volunteer Kenn Basham, who has been living with HIV since 1986, said the new garden is a reminder that HIV and AIDS still affect the community.

“Everyone has to realise they are affected, it is a community thing,” he said.

“HIV is always going to be with us, but it is up to us to live the best life we can with it, whether it’s infected or affected.”

The AIDS Action Council raised $170,000 to build the garden. Executive Director Philippa Moss said the organisation is aiming to raise further funds to add a piece of art to the space.

Over 25,000 people are estimated to be living with HIV in Australia.

Basham said the new garden is a physical reminder for people affected by HIV.

“[It’s] somewhere was can point to and say to people, ‘You can go there for this person, for remembering or thinking or crying or whatever you need to do’,” he said.

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