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We are a bit disappointed that the community response for the annual AIDS Solidarity Walk was not that great as the event that takes place on World AIDS Day has been set aside to emphasize awareness about the epidemic that is plaguing the world over.

Nevertheless, and even with the threat of rain, members of the San Pedro AIDS Commission and a group of residents did march around town to show support and create awareness intended for World AIDS Day on Wednesday, December 1, 2010. AIDS Commission president, Felix Ayuso and group members did a great job of organizing the event and sent out invitations to business establishments around the island. Still few people came out to show support!

“We are hoping that through this walk we show the community that AIDS is everybody’s concern so everyone should be involved,” stated Felix Ayuso, President of San Pedro AIDS Commission.

A much more successful event was the AIDS Fair that was held at Central Park on Sunday, November 28, prior to World AIDS Day, also by the San Pedro AIDS Commission. Free Rapid Testing for HIV was carried out all day and 73 people got tested. HIV/AIDS information was distributed; food and drinks were on sale to raise funds for the commission and there were games for the children and entertainment.

“A big ‘Thank You’ to all who supported the annual AIDS Fair and fundraiser,” commented Mr. Ayuso. “Muchas Gracias to all who donated, gave of their time and joined in this very important mission. We once again did it.”

Indeed it is great that the San Pedro AIDS Commission and Belize joins the rest of the world in bringing awareness during this day.
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The Story Behind the Red Ribbon
The red ribbon is internationally recognized as a symbol of the struggle around HIV/AIDS. The AIDS Awareness Ribbon or RED RIBBON is commonly seen adorning jacket lapels and other articles of clothing as a symbol of solidarity and a commitment to the fight against AIDS.

The Ribbon Project was conceived in 1991 to recognize and honor friends and colleagues who have died or are dying of AIDS. The color red was chosen for its "connection to blood and the idea of passion - not only anger, but love, like a valentine."

Care and concern: It is being worn by increasing numbers of people around the world to demonstrate their care and concern about HIV and AIDS - for those who are living with HIV, for those who are ill, for those who have died and for those who care for and support those directly affected.

Hope: The red ribbon is intended to be a symbol of hope - that the search for a vaccine and cure to halt the suffering is successful and the quality of life improves for those living with the virus.

Support: The red ribbon offers symbolic support for those living with HIV, for the continuing education of those not infected, for maximum efforts to find effective treatments, cures or vaccines, and for those who have lost friends, family members or loved ones to AIDS.

If you are offered a Red Ribbon, you are asked to take it and wear it as a tribute to the millions of people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS worldwide. Anyone can wear a red ribbon. You don't have to be HIV positive or living with AIDS to demonstrate that you have an understanding of the issues surrounding HIV and AIDS.

There is no ‘official’ Red Ribbon. You can make your own to wear. Wearing a red ribbon is the first step in the fight against HIV and AIDS. It can be worn on any day of the year, but especially on World AIDS Day.

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Dorian Nuñez

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