Archbishop Desmond Tutu has sent a special video message from Cape Town to mark 1st December, World AIDS Day, and the 25th Anniversary of a Leicester charity providing support for HIV positive people and HIV education and awareness across the communities.
The Archbishop, who earlier this year became International Patron of LASS (Leicestershire AIDS Support Services), has three key messages for the people of Leicester and around the world. Firstly he says that you should put your mind at ease and know your HIV status. Secondly he says that together we can all reduce the stigma about HIV. Finally he gives a special message for everyone living with HIV that ‘We thank God for the medical practitioners and researchers and carers who are seized with the task of supporting, loving and healing. We place our faith in God to maintain our spirit. And we place our trust in our medical and support services to keep our bodies well.’
Jenny Hand, CEO at LASS, says: “These messages from such a globally renowned leader will help us so much to make a difference to the lives of many people, locally and further afield. It is our 25th year and we still have so much to do to change people’s attitudes and understanding about HIV, to make it possible for people living with HIV to have lives free from stigma and discrimination. National HIV testing week is 23rd to 28th November this year – when everyone working in the field of HIV is encouraging people to get tested and know their HIV status. Archbishop Tutu’s message will provide encouragement and support to this campaign.”
LASS, HIV 25 years on …. And it won’t go away
LASS is marking its 25th anniversary with a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to create an archive and to publish a history of the organisation – “…and it won’t go away” – 25 Years of Leicestershire AIDS Support Services – based on interviews with founders, volunteers, staff, Trustees and people living with HIV from across the 25 years of its existence. “This is a ground breaking publication of national significance,” said Jenny Hand. “It charts the response of the people of Leicestershire to the arrival of HIV and AIDS and reveals the significant changes for HIV locally and nationally as well as for LASS, and people living with HIV. We hope that our publication and the work we continue to do does justice to the lives of the many people who died with AIDS in the early years.”
The book is being launched on 30 November and copies will be available to download free from the website http://www.lass.org.uk after that date. Hard copies can be ordered from email@example.com at a cost of £2.50 to cover postage and packing. (Update, it’s launched! Click here)
LASS will also be celebrating World AIDS Day with a fundraising concert at the Leicester YMCA on Saturday 1st December with four live bands including the multicultural UK dub and roots band CounterAction, Multimorph, Sleeping through Rapture and George Sandersun. More details are available here
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