SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – For the 27th consecutive year, activists gathered at the Mason Square Veterans Memorial on Friday to form a human chain. The event was organized by the New North Citizens Council’s Deborah Hunt Prevention and Education Center.
It was a somber reminder that people around the world and locally are still dying from HIV and AIDS-related illnesses. There are more than 1,900 people living with HIV in the Springfield area, and more than 18,000 statewide.
“We’ve noticed that through education, the transfer of HIV virus has declined,” Mason Square neighborhood activist Jay Griffin explained. “It’s not over, but it has declined so our efforts are paying off.”
Participants pledged solidarity in the struggle against the disease at Friday’s remembrance ceremony. Citizen’s Council educator Richard Johnson said the development of AIDS is preventable through early HIV testing.