A touching ceremony paid tribute to people of any age who left us prematurely because of one of the plagues that has been affecting humanity for too long. A virus hard to defeat but that can be weakened and annihilated with the sympathetic support of people. Since 1988, the 1st of December was appointed as the international day devoted to raise awareness about HIV-infection prevention.
Fight AIDS Monaco, non-governmental organization entirely committed to the cause since 2004, invited all members and supporters to gather on the panoramic top floor of the Oceanographic Museum on the 1st December 2021 to unveil a set of artistic quilts, designed as a patchwork of victims’ lives. H.S.H. Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, president of Fight AIDS Monaco and Ambassador at ONUSIDA, and her daughter, Camille Gottlieb, and some representatives from the Conseil National, the Carabiniers du Prince and Monaco Firemen symbolically joined all the people affected by this terrible virus, holding tight the drapes in the light of an extraordinary early afternoon sunny day. This appeared as a sign of hope to counterbalance the negative trend of about 2,0 million new infections and 1,0 million deaths worldwide (Global HIV & AIDS Statistics – 2020 Fact Sheet – UNAIDS).
Inspired by the first American movement born in San Francisco in 1985 under the name of ‘Names Project – AIDS Memorial Quilt’, the solemn list of names resounded in the air while eight fabrics revealed, in pictorial sketches, passions, favourite places and unforgettable moments. An indelible sign of human beings, depicted by associations’ partners, volunteers & friends. A moment, originally intended to replace the funeral celebration, once banned for AIDS patients. A minute of silence was then observed to underline all kinds of discriminations and misconceptions which have labelled AIDS patients for a long time. H.S.H. Princess Stéphanie of Monaco has always been involved in the prevention campaign and in promoting research at any level to improve healthcare and fight against inequalities as recently reaffirmed by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) whose aim is to eradicate HIV diffusion by 2030.
“It always arouses great emotions in hearing the list of people who passed away before their time and who must not be forgotten”, pointed out Princess Stéphanie of Monaco within the official interview – “we have to keep on fighting against any intolerance due to any pandemic, let us think about it” and She added: “AIDS has been spreading for about forty years and people are still misinformed about preventive measures and evolution mechanisms; thus, we are focused on education and we had the chance to access to schools and Lyceé in Monaco to inform new generations and raise their awareness”.
“Each of us can be affected by this virus which is not restricted to any geographical area or social status” – “we should therefore become accustomed to be tested in case of suspicion. The test is fast and effective, nowadays”, she concluded.
According to recent statistics, more than a half of the student population does not use condoms regularly, a quite relevant part of public opinion still believes that HIV can be transmitted through the bite of a mosquito or avoid shaking hands with a HIV positive person. Data that make you reflect.
“It was very important for us to organize this special meeting in Monaco to witness the strong engagement of the whole Principality starting by Princess Stéphanie to defeat this pandemic via the adhesion to the International Movement of Quilts in memory of lost lives due to AIDS”, highlighted to HelloMonaco Hervé Aeschbach, Coordinator at Fight AIDS Monaco – “In this historical moment we definitely have an even bigger pandemic to deal with but it is necessary to keep the memory alive on the devastating impacts of HIV and recall the best part of those who fought with it even if they can no longer express themselves” – “We want then to send a message of hope, which means always keeping prevention high and not isolating people with this virus”, he summed up.
Improving conditions of life of AIDS patients passes also through being open to dialogue, a simple gesture that can make the difference. Stigmatization of vulnerable people, on the contrary, increases their suffering. Fight AIDS Monaco memorial quilt ceremony was meant to strengthen solidarity between us. Unity is strength and together we can make it!
For further information about Fight Monaco AIDS please visit: https://www.fightaidsmonaco.com/