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Irish Young People Connect with the World at Global AIDS Dance Event

By November 27, 2010News

27 November 2010

DUBLIN: Young people from around the country gathered in Dublin to join 50,000 people worldwide in a statement to world leaders about HIV and AIDS.

Anna Fiona Keogh and Karolina Lewandowska pictured at the IFPA’s dance4life schools and youth group World AIDS dayOn the Saturday before World AIDS Day tens of thousands of young people in 21 countries across five continents used their voice and feet to deliver a statement against HIV and AIDS. United by one cause and connected via live satellite, they performed a hip hop dance drill and asked world leaders to remember the promises they made to young people under the Millennium Development Goals. Almost 50,000 young people across the globe were connected via live satellite during the event.

The Irish element of this global event took place at Vanilla Nightclub, Hampton Hotel in Donnybrook, Dublin and featured young people from schools and youth groups across the country, which have participated in the dance4life programme. dance4life is an international initiative which uses dance, media and workshops to help young people engage in the issue of HIV/AIDS and their own sexual health. The programme is offered to schools and youth organisations in Ireland free of charge by the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) and since 2006 almost 4,000 young people have participated in the programme.

Braving ice and snow 230 young people travelled from Monaghan, Cavan, Westmeath and Dublin to participated in the event. Schools and youth groups at the event included Largy College, Clones; Breifne College, Cavan, youth groups from Balbriggan, Donnycarney and Edenmore in Dublin and Clonmellon Youth Group from Westmeath.

Speaking at the event Ann Kennedy, IFPA’s dance4life Coordinator said: “Almost half of the 7,400 people infected with HIV every day in the world are young people under 25. Not only are young people the most affected by HIV, but they have never known a world without HIV. In Ireland young people are often seen as the problem, at dance4life we see them as the solution. By uniting all over the world and demanding change, they can make a difference.

“Coming up to World AIDS Day it is important for young people living in Ireland to remember that HIV has no borders. It is a global issue that affects people in Ireland as well as overseas. In Ireland 395 people were diagnosed with HIV last year.”

Young People from Sphere 17 in Darndale pictured at the IFPA’s dance4life schools and youth group World AIDS dayGrace Wilentz, member of IFPA’s youth advocacy group ASK, said at the event: “Young people want to take responsibility for their own sexual health and protect themselves against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Today we are telling Irish and world leaders that they must give young people the opportunity to take responsibility and the first step is giving young people access to services, information and education.”

Famous local and international artists including international DJ Fedde le Grand and South African singer Tender gave up their time to perform during this worldwide event. Guest performers at the Irish event included comedian Fred Cooke, 2FM DJ Mo-K, musicians Stone & Jezreel and composer Ian O’Carroll, who launched his new dance4life Irish anthem. Students from Largy College in Clones, Co Monaghan performed a drama entitled “The Virus that knows no border” at the event.

dance4life is an international initiative which uses dance, music, film and workshops to help young people engage in the issue of HIV/AIDS and their own sexual health. Headquartered in Holland the programme is active in 27 countries around the world. Since its establishment in 2003 dance4life has reached over 550,000 young people around the world. The programme is offered to schools and youth organisations in Ireland free of charge by the Irish Family Planning Association.

HIV/AIDS Factfile:

  • In Ireland, there were 395 new cases of HIV in Ireland in 2009
  • Worldwide over 33.3 million people are living with HIV and AIDS
  • Four out of 10 new infections of HIV are young people under the age of 25.
  • Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 60 million people have been infected with HIV and nearly 30 million people have died of HIV-related causes.
  • In 2009 there were 1.8 million AIDS-related deaths
  • The latest UNAIDS report shows that gains have been made in the battle against AIDS and HIV. Prevention is working – HIV infections have fallen by nearly 20% in the last 10 years. AIDS-related deaths are down by nearly 20% in the last five years and the total number of people living with HIV is stabilising.

More:

See: Photos from the event here

Watch: The live dance4life Global Event here.

Read: Find our more about dance4life Ireland here.

Facebook: Keep up to date on the latest news here.

* Photos: Top: Anna Fiona Keogh and Karolina Lewandowska pictured at the IFPA’s dance4life schools and youth group World AIDS day event in Vanilla Nightclub, Dublin on Saturday. Pic:Marc O'Sullivan

Bottom: Young People from Sphere 17 in Darndale pictured at the IFPA’s dance4life schools and youth group World AIDS day event in Vanilla Nightclub, Dublin on Saturday. Pic:Marc O'Sullivan