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Belarus Unveils Memorial To HIV/AIDS Victims

A section of the HIV/AIDS memorial in Svetlahorsk
SVETLAHORSK, Belarus (RFE/RL) -- Belarus's first memorial to the victims of HIV/AIDS has been unveiled in the western city of Svetlahorsk.

The granite column features a metal plaque with the inscription, "Remember, Live, Be Near." It is located on the grounds of the city's Orthodox Christian cathedral.

The idea for the memorial was initiated by the local NGO Alternativa.

Alternativa spokesman Alyaksandr Hadanovich told RFE/RL's Belarus Service that the memorial serves both to remind Belarusians about the HIV/AIDS crisis and to commemorate its victims.

Almost 1,500 people have died of AIDS in Belarus, including eight children.