Candlelight Vigil Sheds Light On AIDS Woes

Hundreds of people gathered Sunday evening in Phnom Penh to participate in a candlelight vigil to honor the memory of people throughout the world who have died of AIDS.

The ceremony, which marked the annual International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, brought together hundreds of the country’s HIV/AIDS sufferers with representatives from government ministries, international organizations and NGOs in the park in front of Wat Botum.

Dr Tia Phalla, head of the National AIDS Authority, said the vigil was necessary to remind peo­ple of the great human toll the dis­ease has taken and also to show support for people living with the disease.

“The ceremony is necessary to bridge the gap [in understanding] between those who are in­fected and those who are not,” said Tia Phalla, noting some 400 AIDS victims were in attendance.

The vigil, which was observed in more than 300 locations in 43 countries last year, was funded by Unicef and organized by national AIDS organizations and the UNAIDS program.

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