World Aids Day Offers Many Commemorative Events
|By Dennis McMillan |
Published: November 26, 2009
| World AIDS Day is an opportunity to bring people together to get talking about HIV. By attending an event, you can help spread the word and break the silence on HIV. It is held every Dec. 1 internationally. Since 1995, the President of the United States has made an official proclamation on World AIDS Day. Governments of other nations have followed suit and issued similar announcements. World AIDS Day was first conceived in August 1987 by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, two public information officers for the Global Program on AIDS at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Bunn and Netter took their idea to Dr. Jonathan Mann, director of the Global Program on AIDS (now known as UNAIDS). Dr. Mann liked the concept, approved it, and agreed with the recommendation that the first observance of World AIDS Day should be the first of December, 1988. |
The World AIDS Day theme this year is “Universal Access and Human Rights.” Global leaders have pledged to work towards universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care, and recognizing these as fundamental human rights. Valuable progress has been made in increasing access to HIV/AIDS services; however more commitment is needed worldwide in order to slow down this pandemic. The United Nations estimates there are now over 33.2 million adults and 2.5 million children living with HIV/AIDS today. During 2007, over 2.5 million newly infected cases were reported.
Here in the United States the Centers for Disease Control estimates that by the end of 2006 there were over 1.1 million persons living with HIV/AIDS. The annual “HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report” also estimates some 42,655 new cases of HIV/AIDS were diagnosed in 2007.
The following are suggestions for San Francisco WAD events.
The National AIDS Memorial Grove offers its Sixteenth Annual Observance at the National AIDS Memorial, Golden Gate Park, “Renewing Our Commitment.” The Grove is located at the intersection of Bowling Green and Middle Drive East. The event is 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with program at noon. There will be presentations of National Leadership Recognition Award to Stephen F. Morin, PhD Director, Center for AIDS Policy Research, AIDS Policy Research Center, UCSF; and Local Unsung Hero Award to Bishop Yvette Flunder, Executive Director, Ark of Refuge, Inc.
Entertainment will be provided by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and VOICES Lesbian Choral Ensemble. Bringing friends is encouraged. The observance and light lunch that follows are free and open to the public. The tent will be heated, but please dress appropriately for the weather.
Join Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center for World AIDS Day, 12-2 p.m.,730 Polk Street, 4th Floor. There will be a panel discussion on “Right to Access: Emerging Challenges for Emerging Populations.” Lunch will be provided, as will free, confidential and anonymous Rapid HIV and Hep B testing at the Wellness Center, and free HIV testing at Bay Area Out of the Closet thrift stores. More info is at apiwellness.org.
“AIDS around the World: A World AIDS Day Special” is at Commonwealth Club of California, 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program in Gold Room, with Jose M. Zuniga, President/CEO, International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (IAPAC). Educate yourself and help advance the global commitment in the battle against AIDS. Come learn the latest developments and advancements in AIDS care from around the world as Zuniga discusses the work of IAPAC in Africa, South America, North America, and Europe. Find out why this fight involves you and your human rights.
“More Than Words: Poetry, Prose, and Plays Fight AIDS” is in Eureka Valley Recreation Center auditorium on Collingwood Street at 18th from 7:30 to 9 p.m.
GuyWriters is the only gay men’s writing group in San Francisco. This night will feature members of GuyWriters reading original works on the topic of HIV/AIDS. Best-selling author Kemble Scott will be the night’s special guest. Donations will be collected at the door with all proceeds going to STOP AIDS Project.
“Life Before the Lifeboat: San Francisco’s Courageous Response to the AIDS Outbreak” is a documentary featuring leading AIDS expert Dr. Paul Volberding, which will be screened for free at San Francisco General Hospital’s (SFGH) Carr Auditorium. The film, beginning at 2 p.m. will continue each hour on the hour with the final showing at 5 p.m, features intimate conversations between Volberding and some of San Francisco’s courageous leaders from the earliest days of the AIDS epidemic. It highlights how political and gay activists, along with SFGH, came together to navigate the early years of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco. SFGH served as the nexus for AIDS treatment in the beginning where Volberding and others developed what became known as the “San Francisco model” for AIDS treatment.
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants’ “Cocktails for a Cure” party is at the Harbor Court Hotel, 165 Steuart Street, 6 to 8 p.m. The party benefits Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation (REAF), a nonprofit organization established to raise funds for AIDS service provider agencies through the production of quality entertainment events. Born from the grassroots efforts of two mothers, Barbara Richmond and the late Peggy Ermet, who lost their only sons to AIDS as a way to honor their sons’ memories and to help alleviate the suffering of many of the other sons and daughters living with HIV and AIDS, the Foundation has become one of the leading sources of funding for many local AIDS service providers. A $5 donation at the door includes one drink ticket. Come show your support, raise funds for a good cause and celebrate the season.
If you want to travel across the bridge, a portion of the world-famous Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display at the Town Center Mall, in Corte Madera, 100 Corte Madera Town Center, Space 303. Marin County has a unique opportunity to witness this powerful visual reminder of the AIDS pandemic, beginning at 2 until 7 p.m. The event will include a talk at 5:30 p.m. from Brother Karekin, a member of Recycled AIDS Medicine Program (RAMP). He will provide a multimedia presentation about the clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe and the impact that funneling unused aids medicines to Africa can have on a local population. The Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt is made up of more than 46,000 panels with each individual 3-by-6-foot panel sewn by friends, lovers, and family members to commemorate the life of someone who has died of AIDS. The Quilt weighs over 54 tons and is the largest ongoing community arts project in the world. Millions of people worldwide have visited the Quilt at thousands of displays.