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Act Up AIDS Paris
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Join a London vigil marking 40 years since the discovery of AIDS

On December 1 (World AIDS Day) a candlelit gathering will be held on Carnaby Street to honour the 36 million people who have died from the illness

It’s been four decades since the first cases of what later became known as AIDS were officially reported. In June 1981 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA noted that five gay men aged between 29 and 36 years of age passed away in three different hospitals in LA, marking the first of 36 million people who would later be taken by HIV/AIDS. 

Though science has triumphed and people now live long and healthy lives with HIV, in the fifteen years between the onset of AIDS and the discovery of effective antiretroviral therapy, loss, rage, and resilience became unwelcome bedfellows within the queer community. And yet despite the arrival of groundbreaking, long-acting injections and vaccines for HIV, which scientists are beginning to trial, we have yet to unlearn much of the stigma and discrimination from that period. Not to mention that the pandemic is still unfurling in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. 

To commemorate the lives lost, the progress made, and that yet to be achieved, MAC and fashion designer Gareth Pugh are holding a candlelit vigil on Carnaby Street on World Aids Day (this Wednesday, December 1). From 5pm, a gospel choir will congregate outside the MAC store, joined by Professor Jane Anderson CBE, chair of the National AIDS Trust, who will deliver a speech to those in attendance.

The vigil will be led by MAC VIVA Glam, the beauty brand’s charitable arm which has raised more than $500,000,000 for HIV/AIDS organisations since its inceptoin in 1994. The sale of MAC VIVA Glam lip products, which is based on a 100 per cent giving model, has funded more than 1,800 organizations around the globe and has seen a score of celebrities to put their names to lipsticks, glosses, and pencils. RuPaul was the first, followed by the likes of Rihanna, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Boy George, Mary J Blige, and Debbie Harry

Head down to Carnaby Street at 5PM (GMT) this World Aids Day to join in on the remembrance.