World AIDS Day Marked in Brooklyn

Mayor Bill de Blasio backgrounded by a message that with adequate access to HIV treatment and prevention drugs, New York can beat the AIDS epidemic. | DONNA ACETO

PHOTO ESSAY BY DONNA ACETO | AIDS advocates, nonprofit leaders, and city and state health officials gathered at the historic and resplendently restored Kings Theatre in Flatbush to mark World AIDS Day with the fourth annual End AIDS NY 2020 Coalition gathering.

Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, New York City’s deputy commissioner for disease control. | DONNA ACETO

The December 1 event represents the city and state’s commitment to bring down the level of HIV infections so that the epidemic essentially lacks the critical mass to continue growing. By 2020, the state aims to have no more than 750 new infections, with the city experiencing 600 or fewer. If those goals are achieved, epidemiologists believe that HIV infection will be on a clear course to being a rare condition.

Johanne Morne, the director of the AIDS Institute at the New York State Department of Health. | DONNA ACETO

The city health department estimates that in 2016, there were 1,541 new HIV infections in the city in 2016, with 1,172, or 76 percent, of them among men who have sex with men. HIV infections in the state predominately occur in New York City. — Additional reporting by Paul Schindler

Charles King, who heads up Housing Works, an AIDS services and policy group and was the co-author of the state’s plan to curb the AIDS epidemic by 2020. | DONNA ACETO

Dr. Mary Bassett, the city health commissioner. | DONNA ACETO

Alphonso David, Governor Andrew Cuomo's counsel. | DONNA ACETO

Kiara St. James, co-founder of the New York Transgender Advocacy Group. | DONNA ACETO

Rafael Ponce, manager of community engagement in the city health department's Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention & Control. | DONNA ACETO

Fogo Azul NYC, a Brazilian drummer band that performed. | DONNA ACETO

The Kings Theatre in Flatbush hosted this year’s city World AIDS Day commemoration. | DONNA ACETO