Events slated for World AIDS Day in New York City

Vigil participants standing in the shadow of the NYC AIDS Memorial on World AIDS Day in 2019.
Vigil participants standing in the shadow of the NYC AIDS Memorial on World AIDS Day in 2019.
Donna Aceto

Advocates are planning multiple events to commemorate the 35th annual World AIDS Day in New York City, which is observed on Dec. 1. 

World AIDS Day has taken place every year since 1988 to honor people who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness about stigma against people living with HIV and to recommit resources to ending the epidemic. 

While new HIV infections have decreased worldwide by 59% since a peak in 1995, according to UNAIDS, 1.3 million people were newly infected in 2022 and 630,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses last year. Meanwhile, in New York City 1,624 people were diagnosed with HIV in 2022 and there were 1,241 new infections.

Below is a roundup of in-person and virtual events taking place this year to commemorate World AIDS Day. Many take place on Friday, while others are before World AIDS Day. Keep an eye on social media for further updates. 

Visual AIDS

On Thursday, Nov. 30, from 7 to 9 p.m., the arts organization Visual AIDS, which has supported artists living with HIV and AIDS since 1988, will present five films featuring connections between HIV and other forms of disability and illness. The NYC premiere will take place at the Whitney Museum. Learn more about the event at visualaids.org and RSVP on EventBrite

New York City AIDS Memorial 

On Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the NYC AIDS Memorial in the West Village will read the names of New Yorkers lost to AIDS. The public can sign up to read names at actionnetwork.org. From 4 to 6 p.m., chefs from Queer Soup Night will provide free food for attendees. At 6 p.m., the Memorial will hold the 32nd annual Out of the Darkness World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil. This year’s theme for the vigil is “Leading With Kindness.” 

“All of us on the organizing committee for this year’s Out of the Darkness events on World AIDS Day are excited and inspired by our theme,” said Brent Nicholson Earle, founder and president of the American Run for the End of AIDS, Inc. “With the world in such turmoil and the continued need for AIDS awareness and prevention so great, no idea could be more timely.” 

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

From 9:30 a.m. until noon on Dec. 1, the city’s Department of Health is hosting a World AIDS Day event under the theme of “What does World AIDS Day mean to younger generations?” There will be a panel discussion with young people who will share their experiences related to HIV as well as the importance of World AIDS Day. There will also be a World AIDS Day award ceremony. The zoom link can be found here. Those interested in attending can email Rafael Ponce at [email protected].

Harvard Medical School 

On Dec. 1 at 4:30 p.m., Harvard Medical School is sponsoring a panel discussion on zoom, “Portraying AIDS in the Media: How Far Have We Come?” The panelists will include director Paris Barclay, actress Gloria Reuben, activist and epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves, multimedia artist Kia LaBeija, and activist and physician Joia Mukherjee. Find out more and RSVP here

The LGBT Center 

The LGBT Community Center is throwing its third World of Red Ball on Friday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Park Avenue Christian Church at 1010 Park Avenue. Online registration is closed, but in-person registration will be available at the door from 6 to 7 p.m. According to The Center’s website, the ball “uses voguing to honor the perseverance and strength of LGBTQ+ people living with HIV & AIDS.” It will feature Father YoYo Tisci and International Father Will Chanel as curators, Snookie West as a commentator, Byrell The Great as DJ, and Steve Karas as a special guest judge. Learn more about the ball at gaycenter.org.

ACT UP NY

ACT UP NY is heading to Washington, D.C. on Dec. 1 to demand that President Joe Biden’s administration takes action to address both HIV/AIDS and COVID-19. Learn more on ACT UP’s website.

Marble Collegiate Church  

Marble Collegiate Church and Kaleidoscope Ministries, two LGBTQ Chrisitian organizations, are hosting a night of hymns and carols on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. at 1 West 29th Street. The night will feature SueAnn Shiah, a Taiwanese American musician, filmmaker, community organizer, ethnomusicologist, and public theologian. Find more information at marblechurch.org.