On Thursday, December 1st, 2016 Salt Lake City will commemorate World AIDS Day by lighting the City and County Building balconies with red lights. The Mayor and City Council have also issued a joint resolution calling on residents to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS and to support 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,” Mayor Biskupski said. “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.”
Salt Lake City Council Member Stan Penfold, sponsor of the joint resolution, and executive director of the Utah AIDS Foundation added, “In a time when many are feeling hopeless, World AIDS Day is an opportunity to make a difference locally.”
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 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.
In Utah, HIV infections are continuing to increase, particularly among those ages 25 to 34.
The UN also reports 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.
The red lights on the City and County Building will be turned on at dusk on Thursday, Dec. 1st and glow throughout the night.