With the little spark of the candle, its wick aflame with the hope that the passing of loved ones from HIV and AIDS shall not be in vain — this is the essence of the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial (IACM) held on the third Sunday of May of each year.
In holding true to the spirit of keeping the fire burning, the AIDS Society of the Philippines commemorated the lives of persons with HIV and AIDS who have passed on, this time, through the floating of dozens of lanterns or khom loy in the dark afternoon sky.
Along with HIV prevention advocates and the health departments of Caloocan City, Pasay City and Quezon City and their Local AIDS Councils, the ASP spearheaded the commemoration at the 8th Avenue, Caloocan City, shortly before sunset on May 18, 2012. The activity marked by speeches from government representatives, advocates and people living with HIV (PLHIV) was supported by the Center for Health Development of the National Capital Region and Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria– Department of Health.
In another activity, and this time, with mass yoga practice and candle lighting ceremonies, the ASP joined volunteer HIV groups and private individuals at the Quezon City Memorial Circle on May 19, 2012 with Yoga For Life in partnership with Take The Test Campaign, The Love Yourself Project, and Youth AIDS Filipinas Alliance. The activity, entitled, “Oneness through Wellness” enjoined the groups to advocate not only for HIV awareness, prevention and control, but also treatment, care and support.
The ASP fervently hopes that the public will take part, in its own little way, in shedding some light to the effects of HIV infection on persons who have lived and died. The annual International AIDS Candlelight Memorial and similar activities will be more meaningful if everyone is aware and would eventually care.