As in previous years, city authorities in Paris will be lighting up the Hôtel de Ville, the seat of local government, with bright red light on the evening of Thursday December 1st. There’ll also be a huge, ten-metre high red Aids ribbon hanging outside all weekend to remind visitors of the ocassion.
Right in the centre of town, and just a few minutes’ walk from the Marais gay village, we don’t think there’s a better spot for the city to demonstrate its commitment to the cause. Although Paris held official events to mark World Aids Day before the election of its first openly gay mayor, they have had special significance since Bertrand Delanoë took over back in 2001.
If I were HIV+ …
Right at the heart of the Marais itself, an exhibition called ‘If I was HIV+, …’ has photos of people from all walks of live, inviting visitors to ask how their reactions might change if they knew the person in the picture was HIV-positive.
As well as demonstrating solidarity with those suffering from HIV and Aids and those who are care for them, prevention is another important message. Local bar owners can sign up to receive free World Aids Day-branded condoms to gave out to their patrons. Posters around the city also remind you to be careful, including this witty reminder about how important it is to get tested.The two boys, Jean and Rémi, are shown from behind and the caption reads: “Jean is HIV-positive, but Rémi doesn’t know. Neither, in fact, does Jean.”
Finally, World Aids Day also has a political dimension, which is particularly keenly felt in France this year with a presidential election coming up in the spring of 2012. It’s a great opportunity for gay rights groups to make our voices heard by all of the candidates!