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AIDS Day vigil held in Hagerstown

December 01, 1999

AIDS Awareness VigilBy SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

About 40 people gathered at Hagerstown's Public Square in chilly weather Wednesday night for the seventh annual candlelight vigil for World AIDS Day.

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"We gather to remember friends, loved ones, husbands and wives," said Robert Griffin, pastor of New Life Metropolitan Community Church, who led the group in prayer.

At his urging, some of those attending stated the names of friends and loved ones who have died of the disease.


"There is still hope. Hope never dies. And we tonight are the carriers of hope," Griffin said.

The vigil was organized by the Concerned Citizens of Washington County and the Washington County AIDS Coalition. They did not do an AIDS walk this year as they have on past occasions.

This year's theme is "AIDS - End the Silence: Listen, Learn, Live," Griffin said.

Society must listen to its members speaking about AIDS, HIV, fears and misconceptions, he said. They must also learn from each other, he said. Further, they must live in a way to prevent the spread of HIV, he said.

"When everyone feels free to discuss HIV/AIDS openly, we can confront the ignorance, misinformation, fear and discrimination that are now perpetuating the spread of this disease," he said.

As part of World AIDS Day, the church is collecting personal hygiene items for those who have the disease. Items can be left at the church at 40 W. Church St., Hagerstown.

There is free AIDS testing Saturday at the Community Free Clinic, 18 W. Franklin St., Hagerstown and free testing for teenagers the first Monday of every month at the Washington County Health Department.

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