Northern Ireland news

New Lord Mayor of Belfast names HIV charity Positive Life as charity of the year

Jacquie Richardson, Chief Executive, Positive Life and new Lord Mayor of Belfast, Kate Nicholl at Belfast City Hall

THE new Lord Mayor of Belfast Kate Nicholl has named HIV charity Positive Life as the first of her mayoral Charities of the Year.

She welcomed Positive Life chief executive Jacquie Richardson to Belfast City Hall in one of her first engagements since taking office.

Ms Nicholl has been a long-standing supporter of the local HIV charity throughout her time as a Belfast city councillor and will work with it throughout the year, including volunteering.

The latest figures from 2019 show the number of new HIV diagnoses in the north declined to 52 new cases from 80 in 2018.

Positive Life is the only charity in the north dedicated to supporting people living with and affected by HIV, with services including counselling, one-to-one and group support sessions, and information workshops.

"I have seen them make real and meaningful difference to individuals, families and communities in Belfast," Ms Nicholl said.

"There is still a lot of work to do in addressing stigma and perceptions of HIV. Breaking down this stigma requires visibility. I hope that in my time in office I can demonstrate to people living across our city affected by HIV that they have the Lord Mayor of Belfast supporting them."

Positive Life chief executive Jacquie Richardson said the charity was honoured to be chosen.

"Kate was absolutely instrumental to getting Belfast City Hall lit-up red for World AIDS Day last December which was a hugely symbolic gesture representing to people affected by HIV that Belfast, their city, stands with them."

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