By Megan Wadding, December 2016 Web Exclusive.
World AIDS Day, observed each year on Dec. 1, is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS, show their support for people living with HIV/AIDS and to commemorate those who have lost their lives.
World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day and the first one was held in 1988. Here are six ways the Phoenix and Tucson communities will observe this day.
Nov. 26-Dec. 10 | Red Ribbon Banner Unfurling
A red ribbon banner will be unfurled from the top of the Phoenix City Hall building to promote the Fast-Track Cities “90-90-90” Initiative, which aims to build upon, strengthen and leverage existing HIV-related programs and resources and, ultimately, end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
The Phoenix City Council voted to join the initiative Oct. 25 and also also approved the creation of a new management assistant II position to oversee this initiative and another on age-friendly cities. Phoenix is the 11th Fast-Track City in the United States.
“There does not need to be one new AIDS infection in Phoenix, it’s a public health crisis that our community can and will eradicate,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “We have had tremendous success with treatment, therapies and education, but this is no time for complacency. This is a time to redouble our efforts to educate the public – without stigma — on how HIV is spread and educate those who have contracted on how to get treatment and stay in treatment.”
Mayor Stanton has appointed Councilmembers Laura Pastor and Daniel Valenzuela to co-chair the initiative in Phoenix, which is framed around a five-element implementation plan to reach the following “90-90-90” targets: 90 percent of people living with HIV know their status; 90 percent of HIV positive people are on antiretroviral therapy and 90 percent are achieving viral suppression.
Nov. 29-Dec. 8 | The NAMES Project Foundation’s AIDS Memorial Quilt Panel Display
Aunt Rita’s Foundation is sponsoring 15 sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt developed by the NAMES Project Foundation, which consist of eight panels (3’ x 6’ in size). This represents a minimum of 120 lives honored by the panels that will be displayed that day, many from Arizona.
“The NAMES Project – AIDS Memorial Quilt panels that Aunt Rita’s Foundation and Cox Communications bring annually to The Parsons Center for Health and Wellness, are available this year for a week long viewing, and on display at our RED Brunch to commemorate World AIDS Day,” said Glen Spencer, Aunt Rita’s Foundation executive director. “They represent the many lives lost because of AIDS, and remind us all to double our efforts to end all suffering from this continuing epidemic.”
The Display is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at The Parsons Center for Wellness, 1101 N. Central Ave., in Phoenix. The names of the individuals who appear on the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt panels will be called out Dec. 1 beginning at 6 p.m. as part of the formal World AIDS Day observance.
For more information on The NAMES Project Foundation, visit aidsquilt.org/about/the-names-project-foundation.
Nov. 27 | Second Annual AIDS Quilt Songbook
This presentation of songs written about the AIDS Memorial Quilt, will include singers from Arizona Opera, and will benefit the Joshua Tree Feeding Program. This performance will feature songs by and about people facing HIV and a broad range of related struggles, triumphs, stigmas, medical treatments, survival, grief and transcendence, throughout the 35-year history of AIDS.
The event will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church, 1875 N. Central Ave., in Phoenix. For additional event information, including tickets, click here.
Nov. 29-Dec. 8 | Embers of Light Discussion Series
Organized by the Phoenix AIDS Candlelight Vigil, and hosted by the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, the Embers of Light Discussion Series is a collection of moderated panel discussions on various themes surrounding HIV/AIDS at The Parsons Center for Wellness, 1101 N. Central Ave., in Phoenix. For a full schedule, click here.
Dec. 1 | World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil, Phoenix
The Phoenix AIDS candlelight vigil, a collaboration of HIV Community Members and Agencies coming together on World AIDS to remember those who we have lost to this deadly disease, will include words from the Grand Canyon Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, special guest speakers Tom Simplot and Nicole Stanton as well as others. Candles will be lit and the names of the individuals who appear on The NAMES Project Foundation’s AIDS Memorial Quilt panels will be called out beginning at 6 p.m. at The Parsons Center for Health and Wellness.
For more information, visit phxvigil.org.
Dec. 10 | RED Brunch
Walgreens presents the fifth annual RED Brunch, Aunt Rita’s Foundation’s signature gala that brings together our 16 Partner Agencies and the diverse community affected by HIV and AIDS, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sheraton Downtown Phoenix, 340 N. Third St, in. Phoenix.
As part of the program, Aunt Rita’s will recognize and honor local heroes in our community that have stepped up and dedicated their time, talents and energies to help all those affected by HIV and AIDS and help bring us steps closer to ending HIV in Arizona All while paying tribute to those heroes that are no longer with us.
“RED Brunch is special for Aunt Rita’s and our community since it supports the broad education and awareness campaigns in which we engage annually to connect those living with HIV into support services and about HIV testing and prevention,” Spencer said.
For more information, visit redbrunch.org.
Dec. 1 | Worlds AIDS Day, Tucson
A World AIDS Day block party, featuring live music from around the world, interactive art booths, speakers, food trucks and more will take place from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at 101 S. Park Ave., in Tucson..
“World AIDS Day is a day for us to gather together, either physically or emotionally, and know we are all connected and that we are united in our grief, in our hope, in our action, in our love. World AIDS Day is a time for us to remember those we’ve lost, remind people that HIV is still with us and we have new tools for prevention and care, and to renew our efforts for education, stigma reduction, testing, care, and support,” said Scott Blades, Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network (TIHAN) executive director. “We’re all in this together, and it’s not over yet.”
For more information, visit facebook.com/worldaidsday.tucson.