Peer influence, media, family members and relatives who smoke. These are some of the influences why kids as young as 10 (or maybe even younger) smoke. Kids think it’s cool to smoke that they imitate someone they know or close to them to light cigarettes with xikar lighters. Kids’ exposure to people who smoke increases their chances to initiate smoking. Kids are also influenced by the personalities they see on television. Some commercials or movies have subliminal messages that somehow influence the young audience that it’s okay to smoke since their favorite actors are doing the same. For older kids, parents may not be able to monitor them outside their home. Some kids who don’t know how to handle peer pressure end up smoking cigarettes themselves. How to keep kids from all these influences depends on how things are explained to them. Parents may begin telling their kids how bad smoking is to one’s health as early as possible.
The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is one of the world’s oldest and largest grassroots mobilization campaigns for HIV awareness in the world. Started in 1983, the Candlelight Memorial takes place every third Sunday in May. The Memorial is led by a coalition of 1,200 community, health and faith organizations in 115 countries. In 2012 over 200,000 people worldwide participated in the event. At the global level the Memorial is coordinated by the Global Network of People living with HIV.
When the AIDS Candlelight Memorial was held first in 1983, no-one could have predicted the scale of the global epidemic. With millions of lives lost and around 33 million people currently living with HIV, HIV remains a challenging reality. While for many people HIV has become a chronic disease, many others lack access to treatment and experience HIV-related stigma, discrimination and human rights violations on a daily basis. The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial reminds us of the impact that HIV has on our lives locally and globally.