National AIDS Memorial observes World AIDS Day

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Images courtesy of the National AIDS Memorial
Images courtesy of the National AIDS Memorial

At the beginning of December each year, people united in the fight against HIV/AIDS come together to observe World AIDS Day. The National AIDS Memorial remembers, honors, and supports stories of the pandemic to ensure they are never forgotten.

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week, the memorial hosted events in San Francisco and online to "offer inspiration, hope, remembrance, and reflection," as 2021 marks the 40th year of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the US, with over 700,000 lives lost in the past four decades.

"Today, while much progress has been made, HIV rates continue to rise in the US, with 1.2 million people living with HIV today, particularly impacting young people and communities of color," reads the website.

World AIDS Day
Tuesday's programming included the memorial's "30th Anniversary Light in the Grove Fundraising Gala," which returned as an in-person, outdoor event. Ticket sales went directly to memorial programs.

Wednesday's National AIDS Memorial Virtual World AIDS Day Observance brought together national leaders such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Admiral Rachel L. Levine, among others, in recognition of World AIDS Day. The event also featured appearances by Billy Porter, Steven Canals, and Our Lady J to honor the achievements and future legacy of their television series Pose! with a National Leadership Recognition Award.

Both nights were host to a public display of lights and reading-of-names ceremony in remembrance of those who lost their lives to AIDS this year. Live poetry and musical performances illuminated the ten-acre memorial like never before.

More information, including media from these events, is available online now at

The AIDS Memorial Quilt displayed virtually at the SGN
Throughout the country, the National AIDS Memorial is hosting in-person and virtual display sites for the AIDS Memorial Quilt. It has partnered with HIV/AIDS service organizations, churches, and nonprofits to bring over 400 sections of the Quilt — the largest community arts project in the world — to communities across the US.

In remembrance of our former managing editor and publisher, George Bakan, who passed away June 7, 2020, one of these display sites is the SGN.

Bakan worked tirelessly for the LGBTQ+ community for over 45 years of his life, and fought against misinformation and stigma surrounding AIDS early on in the epidemic.

Blocks 0003, 0728, 2208, 2505, 4208, 4854, 5053, 5335 — Images courtesy of the National AIDS Memorial  

In addition to the SGN, the AIDS Memorial Pathway (AMP) is a participating host for sections of the Quilt. Both SGN and the AMP have eight blocks, totaling 16 blocks being hosted virtually in Seattle.

More details and information about all of the above programs are available at Read about Washington's AIDS Memorial Quilt hosts at