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This World AIDS Day, we wanted to make a bold statement, reminding Melbourne that HIV is still here and that it’s up to us to step up the pace in achieving an HIV-free generation.
Spanning more than 30 meters and standing one storey high, the World’s Largest World AIDS Day sign changed Melbourne’s skyline over night. ?Our installation ‘appeared’ on Melbourne’s Princes Bridge over the Yarra River on Friday morning and stayed in place until Sunday evening.
Federation Square awareness raising event
Along with the huge World AIDS Day letters, we also organised an exciting event at Federation Square on Saturday the 30th. Our first time collaborating with the Victorian AIDS Council and Living Positive Victoria was an absolute hit, with lots of people chatting to us about HIV and sexual health; going home with condoms and red ribbons; and signing up to the Red Aware and ENUF campaigns. We’d like to say a massive thank you to the dozens of incredible volunteers who made the day special with their time, passion, sincerity and enthusiasm.
One of the high points of the day was having some pretty impressive guests drop by to spend time with us! For the afternoon we were joined by UN AIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibe; China’s first UN AIDS Goodwill Ambassador, television presenter James Chau; and Bill Bowtell, Executive Director of the Pacific Friends of the Global Fund. At 3pm during our Paint the Town Red call-to-action (during which hundreds of Melburnians visited Fed Square wearing red and carrying red balloons) we were lucky enough to have Michel Sidibe share a few words with the crowd about the significance of World AIDS Day, community engagement and achieving an HIV-free generation.
On Sunday, the official World AIDS Day, some of the YEAH family (staff and volunteers!) were absolutely honoured to be invited to attend an event at Government House to hear Daw Aung San Suu Kyi speak, and officially open Melbourne’s AIDS2014 (the International AIDS Conference).
In the lead up to, and during, our World AIDS Day celebrations and commemorative activities we encouraged the community to take part in our ‘What does World AIDS Day mean to you…?’ photo petition. We received entries from all over the world, as well as lots from Melbourne, with people sharing messages of remembrance, hope, action and unity. Many of these entries were collated into a video and shown on Federation Square’s Atrium Screen throughout the World AIDS Day weekend. To view this video, click here.
For a look at all of YEAH’s exciting media coverage over the weekend (Channel 10 and ABC News, The Project, The Age and more!) feast your eyes on this handy wrap-up. If you were at the Condom Castle or the giant letters, tag yourself in our Facebook photo album :)
**The lovely World AIDS Day letters and Federation Square event were made possible by the support of the following organisations: ViiV, The Victorian Department of Health, Federation Square, and Glyde Healthcare. YEAH would like to thank them for their wonderful contributions.