Somber vigil for Atlanta World AIDS Day [photos]

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With candles in hand, the Atlanta Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and about two dozen others marked World AIDS Day on Saturday with a somber candlelight vigil in the heart of the gayborhood.

The vigil, organized by the Atlanta Sisters and led by Rapture Divine Cox (top photo), was a brief but touching observance to call attention to the HIV epidemic, the plight of those who are touched by HIV and people who died from the disease. After the ceremony in Smith Park, the small sliver of greenspace at the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and Monroe Drive, the Atlanta Sisters and supporters spent the evening distributing condoms in area gay bars.

Atlanta Sister Sissy SweetTea thanked participants after the event.

Thank you to everyone that came out and shared with us tonight. We are blessed to have a great community that can reflect on those we have lost as well as focus on helping to stop the spread of this disease. Thank you also for sharing your thoughts and energy on our Veil of Remembrance

The vigil came on the heels of disturbing news from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, which released statistics showing that gay sex fuels two-thirds of HIV cases in Atlanta. Federal health officials also said last week that young men who booze it up before sex, enjoy multiple sex partners and engage in risky sex continue to disproportionately fuel new HIV infections in the U.S.

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