HIV charity Brigstowe will be turning Bristol red ahead of World AIDS Day on Tuesday, December 1.
An annual event held on December 1, World AIDS day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.
Brigstowe, a Bristol support charity with its headquarters in Easton, will be lighting Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol Temple Meads, Wills Memorial, Bristol Beacon and NatWest’s Bristol HQ in red at 5pm on December 1 to raise awareness of the illness.
“This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, things are having to be very different,” says Aled Osborne, fundraising and communications manager at Brigstowe.
“Due to physical events this year being cancelled we still want a city wide presence to mark this important day by running a campaign to #TurnBristolRed.”
The charity will also host a week of virtual events aimed at reducing stigma of HIV and AIDS, from HIV awareness training via Zoom to a World AIDS Day takeover on BCfm.
A panel discussion will see Jonathon Blake, one of the first people in the UK to be diagnosed with HIV, TEDx speaker Mercy Shibemba and activist Eli Fitzgerald come together to speak about representation and stigma.
Volunteers from Brigstowe and members of Freedom Youth as they candidly discuss all topics related to HIV reflecting on the pandemic of the 80’s & 90’s, modern day and looking to the future, The Diversity Trust will discuss representation.
The Haven, Refugee Women of Bristol and Bristol Refugee Rights will look at inequalities faced by migrant communities.
Towards the end of the week, Brigstowe will host a virtual celebration and an online vigil.
The only in-person event for 2020 will be the raising of the Red Ribbon Flag outside City Hall, which will be held at midday on Monday, November 23.
In the UK, around 103,800 people are living with HIV. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
“World AIDS Day is an annual event held on December 1 and it is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness,” Aled says.
“People can get involved by signing up to one of our many events, if they have a photo of themselves from a previous year wearing a Red Ribbon then re post or changing their profile picture to a temporary one with a World AIDS Day banner.
“World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.”
View the full programme of events: www.brigstowe.org/World-AIDS-Day-Programme-2020
All photos: Brigstowe