Tree of Life to Remember AIDs Victims
Mayor of Gloucester, Councillor Kate Haigh will mark LGBT+ History Month by joining with Pride in Gloucestershire to plant a tree in memory of those who have died from AIDs.
It is intended that the tree will become a place to visit and remember those who died from the disease and will be a focus of Pride Day and World AIDs Day in December.
Councillor Haigh will plant the tree on Friday, 19 February with a representative from Pride in Gloucestershire, which is one of the Mayor’s chosen charities. They have chosen a Prunus virginiana which has red berries and leaves to symbolise the red ribbons worn for World AIDs Day.
February is LGBT+ History Month which focuses on the celebration and recognition of LGBTQ+ people and culture.
February 19 is also the screening of the last episode of It’s A Sin on Channel 4 which follows the lives of a group of young men at the start of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
Testing for HIV is quick and easy, all it takes is a finger-prick test. People can live with HIV for a long time without any symptoms, testing is the only way to know someone’s HIV status.
If a person has HIV, finding out means they can start treatment, stay healthy and avoid passing the virus onto anyone else and testing for HIV is still possible despite COVID-19 restrictions.
HIV postal and self-test kits are safe and confidential, and anyone diagnosed with HIV can access free treatment and support.
Mayor of Gloucester, Councillor Haigh, said: “The AIDs epidemic saw an appalling loss of life, with many lives cut devastatingly short because of it. Today, thanks to scientific progress HIV is no longer a death sentence and with the right treatment is not transmissible. We still need to raise awareness of the importance of practising good sexual health for everyone and you can get a test easily and quickly at home.”
JayJay Potter-Peachey, Chairperson of Pride in Gloucestershire, said: “It is wonderful to see such support from the Mayor for the LGBQT+ community here in Gloucester. The Tree of Life is an important symbol not only rendering those we have lost within the community to HIV/AIDS but also a chance to celebrate those who have survived and are still with us now. It is also a chance for the entire community to reflect.”
“The Tree of Life will become not only a focal point for our Pride events but also a focal point for World AIDs Day on 1 December each year. where we will encourage people to tie a red ribbon to the tree to remember those who we have lost.”
For more information visit www.startswithme.org.uk.