World AIDS Day

(Los Angeles CNS) –  A health fair at County-USC Medical Center and candlelight vigils in West Hollywood, Claremont and Pasadena are among Los Angeles County events planned for today in connection with World AIDS Day.

The health fair at County-USC Medical Center will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and feature HIV and AIDS educational booths provided by community agencies, free rapid HIV testing and information regarding services available at the Rand Schrader HIV Clinic in Boyle Heights.

City of San Fernando Mayor Joel Fajardo, the first openly gay mayor elected in this small town said he believed it was especially important that people become aware of the most recent drugs that can prevent the disease including the drug PrEP, “The drug could potentially save millions of lives and a lot of gay men still don’t know about it,” Fajardo said. 

The 22nd annual Noche de Las Memorias, commemorating the lives of people who died from AIDS and recommitting to the effort to prevent further illness among populations effected by HIV and AIDS, will begin at 7 p.m. at the Las Memorias AIDS Monument in Lincoln Park in Lincoln Heights.

The event will include speeches by community leaders, live music and songs and the unveiling of new names on the monument. The public is invited to bring photographs of their loved ones to place around an altar that will be created around the park’s AIDS ribbon.

A candlelight walk will begin at 5 p.m. at the LGBTQ Center of Long Beach.

The West Hollywood vigil will begin at 6 p.m. at the corner of Crescent Heights and Santa Monica boulevards.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display at West Hollywood City Hall from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. through Friday.

There will also be a public viewing of AIDSWATCH at West Hollywood Park’s Public Meeting Room from 5-7 p.m. AIDSWATCH was described by a city official as “an electronic memorial presenting one name, one memory, one life at a time.”

AIDSWATCH will be shown through midnight on WeHoTV and on the city’s website at weho.org/wehotv.

The Pasadena candlelight vigil will be held at All Saints Episcopal Church and the Claremont candlelight vigil at Pomona College’ Stover Walk. Both will begin at 8 p.m.

HIV activist Daniel V. Lara will be posthumously honored at 11 a.m. AltaMed Health Service’s East Los Angeles Clinic. Lara, who died in 1992, is credited with paving the way for comprehensive HIV care in the Latino community.

In his World AIDS Day proclamation, President Barack Obama declared, “On World AIDS Day, we remember those who we have lost to HIV/AIDS, celebrate the triumphs earned through the efforts of scores of advocates and providers, pledge our support for those at risk for or living with HIV, and rededicate our talents and efforts to achieving our goal of an AIDS-free generation.

“Today, more people are receiving life-saving treatment for HIV than ever before, and millions of HIV infections have been prevented. Still, more than 36 million people around the world live with HIV — including nearly 3 million children.

“Working with private industry, faith communities, philanthropic organizations, the scientific and medical communities, networks of people living with HIV and affected populations, and governments worldwide, we can accomplish our goals of reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to care, improving health outcomes for patients, reducing HIV-related disparities, and building a cohesive, coordinated response to HIV.

“On this day, let us pay tribute to those whom HIV/AIDS took from us too soon, and let us recognize those who continue to fight for a world free from AIDS.

“Let us also recognize researchers, providers, and advocates, who work each day on behalf of people living with HIV, and in honor of the precious lives we have lost to HIV.

“Together, we can forge a future in which no person — here in America or anywhere in our world — knows the pain or stigma caused by HIV/AIDS. (The San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol contributed to this story)

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