Paint the town red: Melbourne lights up for AIDS 2014

Paint the town red: Melbourne lights up for AIDS 2014

Paint the town red: Melbourne lights up for AIDS 2014

Updated 22 July 2014, 17:17 AEST

Some of Melbourne’s most recognisable buildings are turning red at sunset in a show of support from the host city of the AIDS 2014 conference.

More than 45 heritage buildings and public spaces in Melbourne’s CBD are bathed in red each night.

Red is the universal colour of awareness and support for people living with HIV and AIDS.

Melbourne has embraced the spirit of the AIDS 2014 conference with a calendar of cultural events including a candlelit vigil, art shows and dance parties.

The Yarra building in Federation Square (Photo: Erwin Renaldi)

“Our city is well known for being one of the most open, tolerant and welcoming places in the world,” says Lord Mayor Robert Doyle. “We want to show our visitors that wherever they go in Melbourne, we are painting the town red in their honour.”

The conference is a gathering for those working in the field of HIV and AIDS. Among them are policy makers, scientists, activists and people living with the virus.

St Paul's Cathedral in Flinders Street (Photo: Erwin Renaldi)

The buildings turning red include the popular meeting point Federation Square, as well as St Paul's Cathedral and the Eiffel-like tower of the Arts Centre Melbourne.

Tom Harley, president of the Victorian Arts Centre Trust, says culture plays an important role in helping to deliver valuable messages and encouraging community engagement.

“I'm delighted that Arts Centre Melbourne, along with others in the precinct and many other organisations across the city, are uniting to show support for the conference through the cultural program," he says.

The Arts Centre shines under red lights (Photo: Erwin Renaldi)

It is estimated more than 14,000 people from 200 countries are in Melbourne for the conference, where they will attend more than 160 events.

More than 1000 journalists, scholars, and leaders will attend the conference, said to be the biggest medical conference in Australian history.

Melbourne's Town Hall (Photo: City of Melbourne, Instagram)

While delegates have come from a range of backgrounds, they share the hope of increasing knowledge about combatting HIV and AIDS.

"I am coming to Melbourne because I want to seek new perspectives about HIV," says Busa Batan Tisak from Thailand’s Ministry of Health.

"I really hope that after attending the conference we will be able to reduce HIV rates with more different ways and methods.”

In the last 30 years, approximately 30 million people have died as a result of AIDS-related illness.


Follow ABC coverage of the AIDS 2014 Conference