“Human chain” being formed to draw attention to HIV/AIDS crisis

More than 1,900 people in Springfield area are living with HIV/AIDS

Participants in 2015's human chain event for HIV/AIDS awareness in Springfield are seen here in a WWLP file image.

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.