Manchester will once again mark World AIDS Day by showing solidarity with all those living with HIV and remembering everyone who has lost their life to the virus.
The centrepiece of the commemorations will be a candlelit procession and vigil in Sackville Gardens on Tuesday 1 December.
Greater Manchester’s Interim Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd will lead the procession before Deputy Lord Mayor of Manchester Carl Austin addresses everyone in the gardens as the vigil commences.
The vigil will also feature people speaking about their own experiences of living with HIV and live musical performances from Manchester Glee and former Coronation Street star and musician Bruno Langley.
The event has been organised by the Manchester World AIDS Day Partnership, which comprises of Manchester City Council, NHS, George House Trust, Brook Manchester, BHA, Fresh and The Lesbian & Gay Foundation.
Manchester Town Hall will also be supporting World AIDS Day by being illuminated with red light for the evening in a mark of solidarity.
New figures from the Centre For Public Health at Liverpool John Moores Universityhave revealed that there were 531 new cases of HIV reported in Greater Manchester in 2014, an increase of 13%. It is believed that many people don’t know their status, so these figures indicate that more people are getting tested. Nearly 5,000 HIV positive people in Greater Manchester accessed treatment and care, which is an increase of 5%.
The dominant mode of HIV transmission is sex between men at 57% of new cases, followed by heterosexual sex which represents 37% of new cases.
Councillor Carl Austin, Deputy Lord Mayor of Manchester and Lead Member for Gay Men, said:"The World AIDS Day procession offers all of us a chance to remember those we have lost to the virus, celebrate their lives and also to encourage people to find out their HIV status.
"Early diagnosis is vital, with treatment having improved so much in recent years that if caught early life expectancy is no different than to someone who is HIV negative. So, know your HIV status, get tested. Early testing saves lives.
Greater Manchester’s Interim Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said:"HIV and AIDS has devastated lives in Manchester and it’s right that we should take time on World AIDS Day to reflect on those who have been lost, but also look positively towards the future.
"HIV treatment in 2016 means that if people are diagnosed early, they can live a full and healthy life. As we commemorate, we can also celebrate how far we’ve come. It is still the case, sadly, that people living with HIV still face stigma, hatred and discrimination. World AIDS Day is a powerful way for the people of Manchester to show solidarity with people living with HIV, and demonstrate that we stand with them against stigma."
The procession will begin at Sackville Gardens, by the Beacon of Hope - the national AIDS memorial - then wind its way through the Gay Village before arriving back at Sackville Gardens for a candlelit vigil to remember those who have been lost to the virus.
World AIDS Day marks the culmination of National HIV Testing Week, which has been encouraging people, particularly from the African and male gay and bisexual communities where HIV prevalence is highest, to get tested. For example it is estimated that one in four Africans in the UK who are living with HIV are undiagnosed, and a third of gay and bisexual men have never been tested.
Ahead of World AIDS Day the Black Health Agency for Equality will be holding an event at the Methodist Hall, Oldham Street, on Saturday 28 November between 11am and 4pm.
The event will not only remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS but also celebrate life and show how far we've come in the fight against HIV.
As well as stalls with health information there will be activities available all day such as manicures, hand and head massages, henna tattoos and African dance and drumming workshops. It is a free open event and members of the public are invited to drop in anytime during the day.
Cathedral Gardens will also hosting a stall on Saturday where people can get their red ribbons, tweet or post message of support, get health advice and have the chance of winning extra special prizes.
And on Saturday 5 December Manchester Metropolitan University will hold a young person’s event to raise awareness – the event will include a screening of the seminal film Philadelphia.
The World AIDS Day procession will leave Sackville Gardens at 7pm on Tuesday 1 December.
If you would like to participate in the procession please arrive at Sack Gardens at 6.45pm.
Ahead of the procession St Ann’s Church, St Ann’s Square, will be holding a World AIDS service from 5-6pm.
Local people are also being asked to show their support for World AIDS Day on Twitter by using #PositiveMCR
The Manchester World AIDS Day partnership is on both Facebook and