It is the eve of World AIDS Day and once again all over the world, many people are preparing to to remember
- those who have been diagnosed with HIV,
- those who have died from HIV and AIDS-related diseases, and
- to try to educate the rest of the world’s population about the methods of transmission and the risks involved.
In the City of Armagh today, the Spring Youth Project came together with The HIV Support Centre, Northern Ireland’s leading HIV/AIDS charity, and Armagh City and District Council to show what the 14-16 year olds had learnt in recent HIV awareness training.
The results were very positive: the group of about twenty teenagers came across as very informed.
They told of a virus
- where you can’t tell whether someone has it from looking;
- where those who are HIV positive don’t have the freedom to travel to all countries in the world;
- where many people live with the fear of prejudice hanging over them; and
- which it is possible to prevent contracting.
The partnership of The HIV Support Centre with the Spring Youth Project of the Southern Education and Library Board worked well, with it being clear that the young people had enjoyed their factfinding day in the Centre in Belfast.
The Director of the Centre, Jennifer Andrews, told me that as she heard the teenagers’ practice of their presentations, she realised that they had even done more research after the training day that she had facilitated.
The young people and the staff and volunteers from The HIV Support Centre were welcomed to the City of Armagh by The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Armagh, Cllr Thomas O’Hanlon. The Mayor told us of his pleasure at holding the event which is believed to be the first World AIDS Day event to be held in the city.