The Alex Hospice and Rehabilitation Centre commemorated World Aids Day by lighting candles in memory of all those who have died from the illness.
Centre manager, Grace Marutlulle said the candlelight ceremony was usually held in May, but she thought of moving it closer to World Aids Day in order to mark the significance of the day.
“We have lost so many people to Aids-related illnesses, so why not light a candle in their memory on World Aids Day?” Marutlulle said.
Marutlulle was stunned by how many people still become infected with the virus, despite the information they are exposed to.
“To this day, we still get newly infected people. This is not because of ignorance; there are many factors that contribute to new infections.”
She said that crime and poverty often contribute to new infections.
“The job of educating people on HIV/Aids is far from being over. We need to educate people about taking care of themselves to avoid being infected.”
Mama D has been living with HIV for over 10 years and she says her life has not changed much.
“I was pregnant when I found out that I was HIV positive, but luckily none of my children were infected with the virus,” Mama D said.
“I lead a normal life like anyone else, all I have to do is make sure that I take my medication regularly and live a healthy lifestyle in order to live longer.”
She said the sooner one accepts their HIV status, the easier it will be to start treatment and live a healthy life.
She said the more people talk about their status, and not take to heart what people will say, helps.
“The ultimate goal is to live a long life. People will always talk. Hold your head up high and carry on.”
Marutlulle is disgusted by people who use antiretroviral tablets as drugs and she does not understand why such things happen.
She said that about 70 per cent of people who were admitted to the centre were HIV positive.