|Amsterdam Introduces Positive Flame Tour|
by Redaktie in Scene , 16 July 2018
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From July 23 to 27, AIDS 2018 will be organized in Amsterdam, the largest global conference on HIV. Some eighteen thousand doctors, researchers and people with HIV from all over the world are then in the Netherlands to share the latest knowledge as well as their experiences.
Fred Verdult (HIV+ age nineteen) annually organizes “The Power of Love,” an inspiring meeting about living with HIV: “I read somewhere that it was exactly ninety years ago that the Olympic Games took place in Amsterdam. The Olympic Flame was introduced in those games: the ongoing contribution of Amsterdam to the Olympic Games.
Then I thought: how great would it be to introduce the Positive Flame now? We would make HIV visible in the city, and the city of Amsterdam would show that it is embracing people with HIV. I hope it will have the atmosphere of solidarity that existed when the 1998 Gay Games were held in Amsterdam.”
The Positive Flame Tour will take place on Wednesday July 25, 2018 from 4:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: thirty-seven torch-bearers will jointly walk through the city from the HIV / AIDS Monument to the DeLaMar Theater. They will carry the specially designed torch, the Positive Torch, in turn.
Nobel Prize Winner
The torch will be lit by Peter Staley, one of the most prominent American AIDS activists. It is partly thanks to Peter Staley that the world has started taking HIV and AIDS seriously. The first torch-bearer is Nobel laureate Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, who discovered the virus in the 1980s.
She is then followed by thirty-five torch-bearers who live with HIV in the Netherlands. The first is a woman who was diagnosed with HIV in 1984. She will transfer the torch to an eighty-one-year-old man who was diagnosed with HIV in 1985. They are followed by other torch-bearers, for instance the well-known barrister Oscar Hammerstein (diagnosis year 1988) and Segun (2009), who was born with HIV in Nigeria. His brother Enitan (2011) is the youngest torch-bearer.
The last torch-bearer will be Timothy Brown, the only person in the world who has been cured of HIV. At the start of “The Power of Love,” he will light the Positive Flame for the very first time.
The next day, the Positive Flame will be lit at the conference in the RAI. The Positive Flame will become a permanent element of these biennial world conferences: in two years’ time, the Positive Flame will be burning in San Francisco.
Watch the torch relay from one of the thirty-seven Meet&Greet places, from 4.15 p.m. onwards. For instance, it can be seen at the City Hall Stopera, the Homomonument - where Dolly Bellefleur will perform -, and the Museumplein, where the HIV Vereniging will organize a Meet&Greet. All Meet&Greets can be found on positiveflame.amsterdam. Experience the lighting of the very first Positive Flame during “The Power of Love” at the DeLaMar Theater: tickets (€ 12) can be ordered via poweroflove.amsterdam.
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