Alliance Councillor Kate Nicholl has called on all parties to back plans for Belfast City Hall to light up annually in support of World Aids Day in December.
Raising the issue at the monthly Strategic, Policy and Resources committee meeting on Friday morning, Kate said it was an opportunity for the government authority to “lead from the front” when it comes to destigmatising HIV.
She added: “This simple act of lighting up City Hall is a massive step forward in signalling to those who are affected by HIV that they should be treated with respect and dignity and is something I’ve been trying to achieve since becoming a Councillor.
“Covid19 has been difficult for so many in so many different ways. I’m aware for some living with HIV, life over the past few months has retriggered old traumas which is why I’m raising this now. As local Councillors we are perfectly placed to showcase a vibrant, inclusive Belfast – a City Council that delivers for everyone and supports everyone, using our voices to raise awareness on all issues, without delay.
“Lighting City Hall is part of an ongoing conversation we need to have. I want us to have open dialogue about how people with HIV can live healthy lives and the importance of testing and staying safe.
“Rumour and misinformation feeds stigma. Silence breeds stigma. In lighting up our city hall we will be sending a clear message that we will send out a positive message that as a community we can challenge and remove the stigma that still surrounds HIV and acknowledge the progress around treatment and prevention.”