World AIDS Day in Manchester – a brief history

Publish Date: 28/11/2011

Thursday 1st December is World AIDS Day and there are a host of events happening to mark this very important day when we think of those affected by the virus and seek to raise awareness of how HIV impacts on all of us.

Manchester has a long and proud tradition of raising awareness of HIV throughout the city and supporting those affected by HIV, whilst challenging stigma, prejudice and promoting HIV testing and prevention.

Here we take a look at two incredibly important initiatives that have helped support thousands of people affected by HIV over the last few decades, and a quick update on the campaign for this year.

The Village Charity

For many years The Village Charity raised funds to support the provision of HIV/AIDS services and initiatives in the North West, and create an awareness of the issue of HIV/AIDS.

The Village Charity was one of the first official fund-raisers in Manchester, dedicated to raising money for the community and it helped to inspire the first ever Manchester Pride event with it’s own Carnival of Fun weekend on the August Bank Holiday of 1990.

Back in 1995, The Village Charity published a programme of events for World AIDS Day and with thanks to Roy Jackson we are able to share this online to illustrate how important it has always been for charities and voluntary organisations, LGB&T venues and businesses and local and health authorities to work together to highlight the importance of World AIDS Day on our communities. To download Special World AIDS Day souvenir from 1995, click here.

The Beacon of Hope

The Beacon of Hope has been central to Manchester’s HIV remembrance for the last decade, and on World AIDS Day this year we would like to encourage people to leave their thoughts to those affected by HIV near the Beacon. Special cards will be provided during the annual vigil which takes place at 7pm.
Over the years the Beacon has fallen into a state of disrepair, but a team from the VBA (The Village Business Association), along with the Friends of Sackville Gardens and The Lesbian & Gay Foundation have been giving the Beacon some much needed T.L.C recently.

Over the next few weeks and months, you will see new lighting around the beacon and the nearby tree of life and the much missed HIV time line replaced and updated; which tells the story of how HIV has affected the city over the last 30 years.

Many thanks to Nick Curtis and Roy Jackson for their help in making sure the Beacon’s past is remembered, and its future is secured. For more on the history of The Beacon:

Manchester’s World AIDS Day partnership

In 2009 and 2010 the city-wide theme has been ‘Manchester is HIV Positive’ by way of reminding us that Manchester is positive about raising awareness of HIV throughout the city and supporting those affected by HIV, whilst challenging stigma, prejudice and promoting HIV testing and prevention.

For 2011 the message is focusing on encouraging everyone to ‘Know Your HIV status’ and promoting HIV testing.

Organisations across the city are encouraging testing for HIV to encourage more people to be better informed about their HIV status.

Whether you test positive or negative:

* Knowing your status means you can stay well.
* Knowing your status means you can take control of your health.
* Knowing your status means you can have effective treatment if you need it.

*The Manchester's World AIDS Day Partnership is Manchester City Council, NHS, George House Trust, Brook, Black Health Agency, Fresh and The Lesbian & Gay Foundation.

Find out more here: