West Hollywood, June 5, 2011—Nearly two hundred community members joined AIDS Healthcare Foundation at a candlelight vigil and march to mark the 30th anniversary of the discovery of HIV. The “Remember AIDS” event began at Matthew Shepard Memorial Park on Santa Monica Blvd. at Crescent Heights at 7:00 pm. Despite an early summer rainstorm, dedicated participants carried candles and marched through the streets of West Hollywood Blvd. in a tribute to all of those who have been lost to HIV/AIDS and a renewal of efforts to continue the fight.
At the end of the march, crowds gathered at West Hollywood Park and watched a scroll of names from http://takeaction.aidshealth.org/site/R?i=2vPIlLO_PuDOzse5leUZGA.. of people who have died of the disease since it was first discovered in 1981. A moving video highlighting key moments in the history of AIDS played on a large screen as recording Artist Sam Harris sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” live to the crowd.
“Those of us in the field have fought a Herculean battle for thirty years. We have had many victories and defeats,” said Cynthia Davis, Domestic Vice Chair of AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Board of Directors at the event.
She added: “We now know what works and what doesn't. We know that it is critical to find the people who are HIV-positive and don't know it in order to break the chain of new infections. We know that only a fraction of people living with HIV in the world are currently receiving treatment. We know that universal access to condoms and science-based sex education will reduce new infections. There is no better time, as we mark thirty years of AIDS, to recommit ourselves to saving as many of the thirty-three million lives as we can, and to ending AIDS.”
Remarks by Craig Thompson, Executive Director of AIDS Project LA; John D’Amico, West Hollywood City Council Member; David Cooley, Owner of The Abbey Food & Bar and Rebekka Armstrong, a person living with HIV/AIDS affected and inspired the crowd to hope for and continue to work toward an end to AIDS.
NBC 4 News Coverage at 11PM