Local AIDS service organizations observed the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial on May 17 at Kernan Avenue Park Recreation Center.

The program featured the dedication of a park bench, courtesy of Avita Pharmacy, in memory of friends, family and neighbors who have suffered from AIDS, as well as stories from HIV-positive residents, a news release said.

The Candlelight Memorial, an annual event of the Global Network of People Living with HIV, provides HIV/AIDS education, influences local and national policy, and generates community dialogue about HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment. This year marks the ninth year local organizations have coordinated the Candlelight Memorial in Baton Rouge.

The event was coordinated by HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region Two with assistance from Family Service of Greater Baton Rouge, Capitol City Family Health Center, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center Early Intervention Center and Volunteers of America.