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Gambian HIV Patients Organize Candle March Vigil - 2002-04-16

Gambia AIDS activists observed a candle night vigil over the weekend aimed at remembering Gambians who died from HIV/AIDS. The scene in downtown Serrekunda, is where thousand of aids activists converged to pay their respects to those who have died from HIV/AIDS. The candle vigil march was organized by an association called Gambians living with HIV, better known as the Santayalla society. Lamin Ceesay is a Gambian living with HIV. In his speech to the gathering, Mr.Ceesay said since the discovery of the epidemic in the Gambia in 1986, thousands of Gambians have died from the disease. He blames this on what he calls a lack of support and care.

20 year old Astou Njie is Gambia’s beauty queen. She says it is high time to change the nation’s HIV/AIDS campaign methods and claims more attention is focused on sensitization than on taking care of HIV patients.

AIDS activist Jeggan Grey-Johnson says for the campaign against HIV/AIDS to be successful, it must have the full support of the government. The vigil also aimed to raise funds for people living with HIV. March organizers say the proceeds will be used to settle the school fees of families of HIV patients.

To hear the full report from Pa Nderry M'Bai in Banjul click on the above links for Real Audio or Mp3.