Commemorating World AIDS Day

Commemorating World AIDS Day

On December 1 and the days that follow, people across the globe commemorate World AIDS Day, remembering those lost to an epidemic that has claimed more than 30 million lives, 620,000 of them in the US, including more than 100,000 in New York City.

Sixty million people worldwide have been infected, and in excess of 1.1 million Americans and 125,000 city residents are currently living with the virus.

In 2009, 1.8 million died of AIDS around the world, and 2.6 new infections occurred.

World AIDS Day events in New York include:


The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art and Gay Men’s Health Crisis collaborate on “Art & AIDS: 30 Years,” an exhibition featuring 50 artists living with HIV/ AIDS. More than 150 works of art, utilizing diverse media, will be on display from Nov. 29-Dec. 3.

The exhibition marks the 30th year of the HIV/ AIDS epidemic by including a memorial wall of artists who have died of AIDS.

26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Houston Sts. Through Dec. 3. Visit for hours.

On Nov. 30, Marjorie J. Hill, PhD, the CEO of GMHC, hosts a panel discussion, “The Power of Art in the Epidemic,” with activist and author Mary Fisher, POZ Magazine editor-in-chief Regan Hofmann, Leslie-Lohman co-founder Charles W. Leslie, Bertil Lindblad, the director of UNAIDS’ New York office, Cynthia O’Neal, co-founder of Friends In Deed, and Osvaldo Perdomo, the co-curator of GMHC’s “Art & AIDS: 30 Years.”

26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Houston Sts. Nov. 30, 6-8 p.m.


Housing Works, the AIDS services organization, will close its bookstore café and 12 thrift shops in Manhattan and Brooklyn on December 1 in honor of World AIDS Day, but staff will be on hand to accept contributions of clothing, food, and some household goods for PWAs in need. Visit for locations and hours.

To view the Housing Works online video memorial –– or, better yet, to contribute your own video memorial to the collection –– visit


The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Straight Ministry of Park Slope's St. Augustine Catholic Church, in collaboration with the Rainbow Ministry of Immaculate Heart of Mary of Windsor Terrace, members of St. Francis Xavier of Park Slope, the Brooklyn Community Pride Center, and the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America (ACRIA) present a World AIDS Day Service focused on the theme of “Getting to Zero” –– the goal of ending AIDS deaths and new HIV infections.

Steve Vaughan, music director at Immaculate Heart of Mary, accompanies Ann Beirne, soloist at St. Augustine, in musical selections, and Daniel Tietz, executive director of ACRIA, and Mickey Heller, a board member of the Brooklyn Pride Parade, speak.

St. Augustine parishioner Matt Kirby displays memorial icons.

St. Augustine Catholic Church, 116 Sixth Ave. at Sterling Pl., Park Slope. Dec. 1, 7 p.m.

A reception follows the service.


Given the visibility of World AIDS Day, numerous groups are working in the early days of December to renew their push to get New Yorkers tested for HIV. City health department statistics show that an unusually high proportion of HIV-positive city residents don’t learn they are infected until they develop AIDS-related complications –– long after they could have started treatments and stepped up their safe-sex practices.

Gay Men’s Health Crisis sponsors the following testing drives:

Dec. 1, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., El Museo del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Ave. at 104th St. Open to the public.

Dec. 1, 2-10 p.m., CUNY Tech, 25 Broadway at Bowling Green, seventh fl. Open to students and faculty.

Dec. 2, 3-11 p.m., LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. Open to the public.

Dec. 3, True Colors Residence for LGBT Youth, 483 West End Ave. at 83rd St. Open to residents.

Iris House, which provides services for women, families, and communities infected with and affected by HIV/ AIDS, sponsors the following testing efforts:

Dec. 1, noon-2 p.m., St. Luke AME Church with Anita Parker, 1872 Amsterdam Ave. at 153rd St.

Dec. 1, 5-7:30 p.m., Convent Baptist Church with Orbit & Listen Up, 424 West 144 St. at Hamilton Terrace.

Dec. 1, 5-8 p.m., Harlem RBI/ Base, 333 E. 100 St.

Dec. 1, 6-9 p.m., Paradise Baptist Church, 23 Fort Washington Ave. at 160th St.

Dec. 1, 6:30-8:30 p.m., First AME Church: Bethel, 60 West 132nd St.

Dec. 1, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Denny Moe’s Barber Shop, 2496 Fredrick Douglas Blvd. at 134th St.

Dec. 2, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Iris House West Side, 2348 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd. at 137th St.

Dec. 2, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Iris House East Side, 2271 Second Ave. at 117th St.

Dec. 3, 1-6 p.m., Church of the Abiding Presence, 1672 East 172 St. at Fteley Ave., Bronx.

Dec. 6, noon-2 p.m., 6-8 p.m. City College,160 Convent Ave. at 136th St.

Dec. 8, 6-9 p.m., Parkchester Baptist Church, 1820 Benedict Ave. at Metropolitan Ave., Bronx.


Downtown Music Productions presents two music programs featuring compositions by composers lost to AIDS, including Chris De Blasio (1959-1993) and Kevin Oldham (1960-1993).

Performers include mezzo-soprano Darcy Dunn, baritone Jose Arturo Chacon, dancer Aviad Herman in choreography by Sasha Spielvogel, and (Dec. 4 only) dancer Elizabeth Auclair in Martha Graham's “Lamentation.”

Both evenings present an excerpt of “All the Way Through the Evening,” Australian director Rohan Spong’s documentary on the Benson AIDS Series, a concert program now in its 21st year honoring singer, actor, and musician Eric Benson (1946-1988). The film's name comes fromDe Blasio's setting of five poems by Perry Brass, first presented at the 1991 Benson AIDS Concert.

DMAC (Duo Multicultural Arts Center), 62 E. Fourth St., btwn. Bowery & Second Ave. Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m.

Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, 107 Suffolk St., btwn Rivington & Delancey Sts. Dec. 4, 6 p.m.

Tickets are $25 at or 212-868-4444.


Visual AIDS launched Day With(out) Art in 1989 as a national day of action and mourning in response to the AIDS crisis. To mark Day With(out) Art/ World AIDS Day, Visual AIDS sponsors screenings of “Untitled” at 55 venues nationwide.

Beginning with a reflection on the early AIDS epidemic, “Untitled” eschews a linear narrative to introduce a fractious timeline, moving from the sublime to the tragic and back again. By juxtaposing mainstream network news, activist footage, artists' work, and popular entertainment –– in an unforgettable kaleidoscope of pop songs and TV clips, including from “Dynasty” and “Golden Girls” –– culled from the recent turbulent decades, “Untitled” references regimes of power that precipitated a generation of AIDS and queer activism and continues today with international struggle and expression.

Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Houston Sts. Dec. 1, 6-8 p.m.

Housing Works Bookstore Café, 126 Crosby St., btwn. Houston & Prince Sts. Dec. 1, 7 p.m.


In 1959, a decade prior to the Stonewall riots, the Starlite Lounge opened in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, as a non-discriminatory establishment for gay people of color. Commonly known as a gay bar, it was more accurately defined as a gathering place for a cross-section of the city, welcoming patrons regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation. A half-century later, the neighborhood and the LGBT community were shocked when New York's oldest black-owned gay establishment was given notice to vacate and ultimately forced to close in 2010.

Kate Kunath, a documentary artist working with traditional and new media on issues of image, human motivation, and collective identity, and Sasha Wortzel, a media artist living in Brooklyn, are currently working on a documentary about the legendary establishment. The LGBT Community Center hosts a conversation between the filmmakers and Dennis Parrott and Linda King, Starlite’s owners.

Representatives from the Queer History Alliance will also be on hand to discuss their proposal to create an AIDS memorial park on the triangular plot of land just below the former St. Vincent’s Hospital, at 12th St. and Seventh Avenue South.

LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. Dec. 1, 6:30 p.m.


AIDS activist and filmmaker Jean Carlomusto’s “Sex in the Epidemic” takes an historical view of the social, sexual, and political reactions to the spread of HIV and the way it transformed how Americans think about sexual practices, including a look at the creation of the “safe sex” concept. The film examines how HIV educators and community groups struggled to combat the apathy and fear that greeted the rise of AIDS, particularly on the part of lawmakers, who pressed to deny federal funding for any educational materials “condoning the homosexual lifestyle” –– a crippling constraint on the development of effective prevention tools.

“Sex in the Epidemic” premieres on Showtime, Dec. 1, 10:05 p.m., with encore presentations through Jan. 2 (see for a complete schedule).

The presentation of “Sex in the Epidemic” is the culmination of Outcast Films’ year-long outreach campaign to stimulate discussion and dialogue about AIDS and, especially, HIV prevention.


St. Matthew Lutheran Church and North Hudson Community Action Corp host a World AIDS Day event with a display of the Names Project Quilt and a talk by Dr. Alberto Lacorta, MD.

Actor/ singer Lucio Fernandez. the TapOlé Dance Company, and the comedy troupe Fru-Fru International’s Pepito perform.

Free rapid HIV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea tests will be available for young adults, and free glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse oximetery screenings will also be offered.

José Marti Center for Multi Cultural Education, 1800 Summit Ave. at 19th St., Union City. Dec. 3, 4 p.m.

Refreshments will be available.