World AIDS Day is Sunday, Dec. 1. It’s recognized locally, nationally and worldwide to remember the HIV epidemic is ongoing.
World AIDS Day is an opportunity for South Florida to bring attention to the HIV epidemic and the efforts to end it.
The theme for the 2019 observance is “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community.” “The building of our most important relationships begins with the community,” said Lorenzo Lowe, Director of Prevention at Compass, the LGBT community center in Lake Worth Beach. “We have to show up for one another and speak about hard truths.”
Some of those hard truths can be seen in Florida’s HIV statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 115,000 people in Florida live with HIV. That’s more than 12 percent of all the cases in the U.S. In 2018, Florida reported 4,906 new HIV diagnoses, a 3% increase from 2017.
This year marks the thirty-second anniversary of World AIDS Day.
“As the years continue to pass, the echoed messages of education, access to care, equality, and equity are continued areas of concern for many communities and service providers in South Florida,” Lowe said.
The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. For those with specific risk factors, the CDC recommends getting tested at least once a year.
So again why is World AIDS Day important?
The fight against HIV/AIDS is a daily ritual in some capacity. Everyone has an important role in ending this epidemic - even if it means making changes to social systems that negatively impacts disproportionate amounts of people of color.
This is also a time for those to leverage their resources, privileges and skills to bring awareness and increase its access to everyone in need.
Organizations in South Florida will host several events.
Sunday, Dec. 1
Faith-Based Response to AIDS Partnership
The Pride Center partners with Fountain of Love Ministries on World AIDS Day - Sunday, Dec. 1st from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for fellowship, giveaways, and FREE HIV Testing.
Fountain of Love Ministries is located at 5481 North SR 7, Tamarac, FL 33319. For more information please contact Lorenzo Robertson at
World AIDS Day Open House
The staff and volunteers at the Pride Center’s HIV Prevention Programs hosts an Open House at the Pride Center from 5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Attendees can learn about the programs and services the Pride Center offers. The Center will serve light refreshments.
World AIDS Day Vigil and Remembrance Walk
On Sunday, Dec. 1st at 6:30 p.m., the Pride Center invites our community to come together for a World AIDS Day Vigil and Remembrance Walk. Participants will meet at Hagen Park and walk down Wilton Drive united in memory, healing, and love.
The candlelit walk will culminate at The Pride Center for a few words of respectful remembrance, support, and continued vigilance. We invite the community to join us at Hagen Park to strengthen this tradition of hope and healing.
Monday, Dec. 2, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Opening Ceremony AIDS Memorial Quilt
To honor those we have lost to AIDS, Compass will observe World AIDS Day on Dec. 2. This year. the display will include 30 Blocks of the Memorial AIDS Quilt. Also, all panels on display will be requests from our community members. The AIDS Memorial Quilt Open to Public from Dec. 2 - Dec. 12.
Compass is located at 201 North Dixie Highway, Lake Worth Beach 33460.
Wednesday, Dec. 4, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Hidden Truths of HIV and AIDS History
Compass' Health Services Team is partnering with the World AIDS Museum for a unique Community Education Event. You're invited to learn about the true history of the origins of HIV. Raquel Lopes, Executive Director of the World AIDS Museum in Ft. Lauderdale will present. Dinner will be provided.
Attendees may tour 22 panels of the Names Project Quilt following the presentation.
Food will be served. Register for free: https://hivhiddentruths.eventbrite.com
Saturday, Dec. 7, 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm
AIDS Healthcare Foundation commemorates World AIDS Day every year to remind the global community that the fight to end HIV is far from over. This year’s show takes place at the Adrienne Arscht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami Dade County. It features performances by singer/songwriterIndia, multi-talented musician Amara La Negra and singer/songwriter Todrick Hall.
Staff and volunteers from the organization will set up at the show to offer free HIV testing, interactive sessions to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, and more.
Knight Center Hall at The Arsht Center is located at 1300 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami 33132.
You can learn more about HIV testing sites and other events planned for World AIDS Day by visiting www.HIV.gov.