Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced the State will give €750,000 to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria after unveiling a new HIV remembrance monument.
The Taoiseach unveiled the monument at the People’s Park in Phoenix Park this afternoon.
The ‘Embraced Loop’ monument is designed to express solidarity with everyone, past and present, who has been affected by HIV and AIDS, to remember those who have died, and celebrate their lives and all who supported them.
It was designed by artists Anaisa Franco and Michael R. DiCarlo. Their design was selected for having universal appeal, and for its creative use of the Red Ribbon associated with HIV/AIDS awareness.
Speaking at the unveiling, Mr Varadkar said the advances in prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS have saved “millions of lives”.
“In spite of this incredible progress, we can never forget the devastating effect that HIV and AIDS has had on people, families, communities and entire nations,” he said.
“This deeply moving memorial, ‘Embraced Loop’, will be situated here permanently in the People’s Gardens to show the respect of our nation, that we share in the sorrow of those lost or suffering, and to remember and celebrate the lives of those we have lost.
“It also reminds us that we still need to act, and the struggle is not over.”
HIV and AIDS in Ireland
Approximately 150 guests attended the ceremony, including people directly impacted by HIV, or who dedicated much of their life and work to the treatment of HIV and AIDS. Members of the HIV and AIDS Monument Oversight Committee, established in 2021 to oversee the design and commissioning of the Monument, were also in attendance.
The Global Fund partnership Ireland is donating to has helped save 59 million lives and assisted 24.5 million people to receive antiretroviral treatment for HIV and AIDS through its programmes.
HIV rates more than doubled in 2022, according to Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) statistics show.
Its data for HIV cases shows a rise from 400 in 2021 to 874 in 2022 — a 118% increase.
The HSPC said this is because of lockdowns, social and physical distancing measures and reduced testing opportunities.
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