New Orleans will mark World AIDS Day on Thursday, December 1st, with an evening vigil. The event is free and open to the public. All are welcome to attend.
The vigil begins at 6:30pm on the neutral ground near the intersection of Elysian Fields and N. Rampart streets. A candlelit procession to the AIDS Memorial in Washington Square Park will commence at 6:45pm. The vigil will feature several speakers who will offer brief remarks at the memorial.
The vigil is meant to honor everyone lost to HIV/AIDS and to support those living with HIV. Organizers hope the event also serves as a reminder that the community needs to rededicate itself to the work that remains to be done.
The vigil is being sponsored by The Phoenix in partnership with the Crescent City Leathermen, the Big Easy Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Onyx, the Lords of Leather, the Renegade Bears of Louisiana, and NOLA Pups & Handlers.
Since its inception in 1988, World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people around the world to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, to support those living with HIV, and to remember those who have succumbed to the disease. The idea for the annual day began with James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, who, in 1987, worked for the Global Programme on AIDS at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
Each year around the world, government and AIDS service organizations collaborate to sponsor and coordinate a series of events to bring attention to the pandemic. In previous years, local events have included HIV testing at area universities and other venues, commemorative services at houses of worship, and fundraising concerts & auctions.