PATIENTS, volunteers and staff gathered at the “Memory Wall” in the garden of the Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust’s Respite Unit for a candle-lighting ceremony to commemorate World Aids Day, Tuesday 1 December.
The theme for World Aids Day 2015 is “Getting to zero, end Aids by 2030”.
Julie Hornby, Hact’s nursing services manager, said: “While the world hopes for this, we continue to live with the realities of the HIV/Aids pandemic every day. While the number of new infections has dropped a little, we are all too aware that we are still losing far too many people to this disease.”
Sixty-nine candles were lit and laid out on a table near the wall, which is covered in names of patients who have died since the respite unit opened in 2006. Each burning flame represented a life lost to HIV in the centre’s respite unit since last year’s World Aids Day commemoration.
“Each one of these candles was an active and functioning member of our community who was taken from us all too soon. They were mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers,” said Hornby.
All present at the ceremony also lit a candle in memory of a loved one lost to HIV/Aids and added it to the ever-growing table.
The Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust’s Respite Unit houses 24 patients, seven days a week for 365 days a year. The majority of patients are bedridden due to advanced stages of Aids and opportunistic infections such as meningitis, TB and pneumonia.
It also accepts palliative cancer patients and is the only such unit in the region that provides end-stage palliative care for impoverished Aids patients. On average 150 people are admitted to the unit each year. Of those admitted, roughly 70% of them recover and are discharged, and the other 30% of our patients die with dignity and respect.
If you would like to support the work done by Hact, contact 031 765 5866, email email@example.com or visit the centre at 26 Old Main Road in Hillcrest.