Look to the City and County Building after sunset tonight, December 1st, where red lights will glow throughout the night. The special lighting is in commemoration of World AIDS Day in Salt Lake City 2016 – symbolizing support for the continued fight against HIV/AIDS and for those whose lives have been affected by the virus.
“World AIDS Day is a time to pause and reflect on the impact of HIV/AIDS on our world and on our lives here in Salt Lake City,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “Many of us have lost family members and friends or know people who are living with HIV/AIDS. As a community, we must work to eliminate the stigma that still exists against people living with HIV, and to support education, prevention, treatment and the work toward a cure.”
Raising awareness and encouraging and end to stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS are the key points in a joint resolution signed by Mayor Jackie Biskupski and the seven members of the Salt Lake City Council – also in honor of World AIDS Day.
The Mayor-Council resolution notes that 37 million people worldwide now live with the HIV virus. Of these, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS reports 1.8 million are children, and that 2.1 million new infections occurred among adults and children in 2015 alone. More than 35 million people have died of AIDS-related illnesses since the HIV virus was identified in the early 1980s.
The resolution urges everyone in Salt Lake City to combat stigma, which often keeps people from coming forward for testing and treatment.
“In a time when many are feeling hopeless, World AIDS Day is an opportunity to make a difference locally,” said Council Member Stan Penfold, who sponsored the resolution.
The Utah Department of Health reports HIV infections are continuing to increase in the state, particularly among those ages 25 to 34. And even as more adults are living with HIV/AIDS, the United Nations finds that adults over age 50 who are living with HIV, including those who are on treatment, are at increased risk of developing age-associated non-communicable diseases that can affect HIV disease progression.
Early this year, Mayor Biskupski issued her first official proclamation – “Kristin Ries and Maggie Snyder Day” – in recognition of the two Salt Lake City medical pioneers who provided care and support for hundreds of people living with HIV/AIDS throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s during the height of the epidemic. They were honored for their sensitive treatment of patients, many of them members of the LGBTQ community, and for dignified care of the dying when stigma and misunderstanding of HIV/AIDS abounded.
Click here to read the full Mayor-Council resolution in honor of World Aids Day in Salt Lake City.