By | 18 May 2023 at 4:12 PM
International AIDS Candlelight Memorial 2023: Date, History, Facts about H.I.V and AIDS

This year, the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, which occurs on the third Sunday of May, is observed on May 21. Two of these include commemorating those who have died from AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) and recognising those who have devoted their lives to assisting those living with and afflicted by H.I.V. In 1983, HIV-positive individuals created an annual candlelight ceremony, which has since spawned hundreds of events around the globe. Due to these occurrences, awareness of HIV has increased. The memorial is also a community mobilisation effort. This memorial addresses the stigma and discrimination associated with the disease; new generations now have cause for optimism.

The background of International AIDS Candlelight Memorial

In 1983, when the first International AIDS Candlelight Memorial was conducted concurrently in New York City and San Francisco, the cause of AIDS (HIV) was still unknown. Few thousand fatalities were accounted for at the time. The event organisers wished to honour those who had lost their lives to AIDS and demonstrate their solidarity with those who are afflicted with it. Today, this is still the focus of the event. Since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in 1981, more than 28 million people have perished from AIDS, and more than 42 million people are still living with H.I.V. and AIDS.

People visit the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial to mourn the loss of a loved one to the disease. As AIDS continues to affect millions of people around the globe, this event reinforces community and national commitment to combating it. This memorial has the potential to raise awareness, expand knowledge, and inspire local volunteerism and fundraising. People from all spheres of life who are concerned about HIV/AIDS congregate in major metropolitan areas. The event receives worldwide attention and fosters a sense of global connection regardless of the circumstances.

As diverse as the people themselves, the memorial is commemorated in a variety of ways by individuals from around the globe. Each organiser or coordinator can tailor the memorial to meet the specific needs of the communities they serve. Events can be simple or elaborate, ranging from a small gathering of friends and family to thousands marching through towns carrying lit candles, singing songs, and maintaining vigil.

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H.I.V. is not like the common cold or flu; it is primarily transmitted through anal or vaginal intercourse with a person who has HIV, through the sharing of needles and other drug injection devices, or from a pregnant woman to her unborn child.

Women and children make up more than half of the global HIV-positive population.

Although scientists have been working for years to develop a vaccine to prevent AIDS, there is currently none available.

Although antiretroviral therapy (ART) is not a cure, it can control H.I.V. infection by reducing virus levels, allowing HIV-positive individuals to live long, robust lives.

By the conclusion of the year 2020, approximately 37.7 million people will have had HIV.


Year Date Day
2022 May 15 Sunday
2023 May 21 Sunday
2024 May 19 Sunday
2025 May 18 Sunday
2026 May 17 Sunday