World AIDS Day Events in the Big Apple
According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the city remains the epicenter of HIV and AIDS in this country. More than 107,000 New Yorkers are living with HIV, but thousands don’t even know they are infected.
With the AIDS case rate nearly three times the U.S. average, New York has a lot to remember on World AIDS Day. Through a combination of candlelight vigils, health fairs, HIV testing days and a special art exhibition by Gay Men’s Health Crisis and the Leslie-Lohman Museum, health advocates hope to spread the message that the fight against HIV/AIDS is far from over.
"For more than 25 years, World AIDS Day gives the planet the opportunity to think about the devastating impact this disease has had on our humanity," Leslie-Lohman’s director, Hunter O’Hanian, told EDGE. "Many among us live with HIV and AIDS on a daily basis. This is a chance to remind everyone that the fight is not over and that through art, music and other creative forms of expression, we will continue to keep it in the public’s mind until a cure, one which will be available to all, is found."
On Dec. 1, join with others for "Out of the Darkness," a candlelight vigil. Participants will gather at 6 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church at 164 W. 100th St. at Amsterdam Avenue and proceed to the Advent Lutheran Church/Broadway United Church of Christ at 2504 Broadway at 93rd Street. At 6:30 p.m., there will a reading of the names of those lost to AIDS. Sections of the International AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display.
Join a daylong Housing Works World AIDS Vigil on Monday, Dec. 3, at Cadman Plaza East in Downtown Brooklyn. The event will feature a reading of names of those who have fallen victim to AIDS. People are encouraged to bring their own names to be read.
The theme, "Housing is Healthcare: House People Living With HIV/AIDS," reflects Housing Work’s mission on addressing homelessness and housing instability for those infected. The vigil will begin at 8 a.m. and go to 8 p.m.
GMHC has also taken the lead on providing free HIV testing from Nov. 28 to Dec. 8 throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. See the complete list of HIV testing sites below.
Free HIV screenings will be available at the 2012 World AIDS Day Healthy Living Expo, held on Dec. 4 and 5 at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany. The expo will provide HIV prevention education workshops on body image, movement, dating and domestic violence and bullying and suicide prevention.
In addition to testing, GMHC will partner with Iris House to host "We’re Not Taking It Lying Down," a discussion on health and wellness for women of color, on Sunday, Dec. 9, from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Adam Clayton Powell. Jr. State Office Building in Harlem at 163 W. 125th St.
"Joining forces with GMHC’s Women’s Institute on this campaign adds a stronger voice to the need for services for women of color," said Iris House Executive Director Ingrid Floyd. "I hope that through this campaign we are able to reach women who generally do not see themselves at risk of HIV and encourage them to get tested and know their status."
Guests speakers include GMHC CEO Dr. Marjorie Hill, Iris House’s Ofelia Barrios, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS President (and former Manhattan Borough President) C. Virginia Fields, activist Michelle Lopez, author Sylvia Ortiz and Rev. Dr. Renee Washington Gardner of the Memorial Baptist Church. Free HIV testing and lunch will be provided.
On Nov. 29 in Harlem, continue the education at the NYC Men’s Roundtable on STI, HIV & AIDS. Activist Amir Figueroa will lead the discussion. The event will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Connect, 127 W. 127th St., Room 432. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-683-0015 x225 for information.
With the holidays approaching, the time is perfect for Survivors of Mothers with AIDS 4th Annual Toy Drive, benefiting families affected by the disease. Attendees should bring a toy or toys for kids up to 16 years old, which will be distributed on Dec. 8 at GMHC’s annual family holiday party. The toy drive will be held on Sunday, Dec. 2, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Escuelita, 301 W. 39th St. Admission is free with a toy, $10 without.