Press Release – New Zealand AIDS Foundation
On Friday, 25 November (the Friday before World AIDS Day) collectors will be easy to spot on streets and in malls around New Zealand as they carry giant, bright red, helium-filled balloons shaped like zeros.15 November 2011
World Aids Day A Big Red Zero
On Friday, 25 November (the Friday before World AIDS Day) collectors will be easy to spot on streets and in malls around New Zealand as they carry giant, bright red, helium-filled balloons shaped like zeros. The zeros are a simple but eye-catching way to bring the global theme of World AIDS Day, called Getting to Zero, to New Zealand. Getting to Zero focuses on three inspirational messages; zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS related deaths and zero discrimination. Launched by UNAIDS earlier, this year, these three messages also reflect issues that are at the forefront of New Zealand’s HIV epidemic; HIV prevention initiatives, access to essential treatment and equality for people living with HIV.
The street collection is the cornerstone of a variety of World AIDS Day events to be held around New Zealand and collections will take place in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Timaru and Invercargill. The volunteer collectors will exchange red ribbons, the international sign of solidarity with people living with HIV, for donations. The red ribbon is the original ‘ribbon’ campaign Created by New York artists in 1991 the red ribbon is an international symbol of solidarity with people living with HIV and AIDS. Its creators chose red for its ‘connection to blood and the idea of passion – not only anger, but love, like a valentine’. (Visual AIDS Artists Caucus, www.thebody.com/visualaids/about.html)
The latest HIV figures from the AIDS Epidemiology Group at the University of Otago have shown a sharp decline in HIV diagnoses for heterosexual New Zealanders but the news is not all good. Last year, was the worst year on record with 95 new diagnoses of HIV among New Zealand’s gay and bisexual men. The previous peak for this group was 93 in 2008.
Many more volunteers are still needed and everyone is warmly welcomed to sign up at www.nzaf.org.nz/volunteer or to call Akira Le Fevre in Christchurch on 03 379 1953, Don Barclay in Wellington on 04 381 6640 or Gavin Ring in Auckland on 09 300 6955. Volunteers will receive advice and support, lunch and refreshments, t-shirts and transport to and from collection areas. Proceeds from the World AIDS Day appeal will be shared 50/50 between the Wellness Fund and the NZAF’s Health Services. The National Collective has managed the Wellness Fund since June 2011.