World AIDS Day has been celebrated on December 1st every year since 1988. As the first ever global health day, World AIDS Day has served to not only commemorate those who have died but to educate the public and join together in the fight against HIV. Thousands of events are taking place globally the week of December 1st, including those here in Hampton Roads.
ACCESS AIDS Care seeks to inform the Hampton Roads community of not only the history of HIV/AIDS but how it affects us locally. For example, more than 21,000 individuals are currently living with HIV/AIDS in the Commonwealth of Virginia and more than 1,300 new cases are reported each year, of which more than 30% are in Hampton Roads.
According to filmmakers, David Weissman and Bill Weber, “We Were Here documents the coming of what was called the “Gay Plague” in the early 1980s. It illuminates the profound personal and community issues raised by the AIDS epidemic as well as the broad political and social upheavals it unleashed. It offers a cathartic validation for the generation that suffered through, and responded to, the onset of AIDS”.
ACCESS AIDS Care, a local non-profit organization that provides programs and services to individuals and families living with HIV/AIDS in Hampton Roads, is also the recipient of a benefit sponsored by Todd Rosenlieb Dance.
5th Annual ARTS for LIFE World AIDS Day Benefit, with performances by TRDance, Hampton Roads Men’s Chorus, Workshop Theatre Group, Virginia Stage Company, the Governor’s School for the Arts & Virginia Chorale. December 1 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at www.trdance.org.
Other World AIDS Day community events in which ACCESS AIDS is participating include:
World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil. December 1 at 5:00 p.m. Norfolk State University, New Student Center. Free STD Testing including rapid HIV testing. Event is free and open to the public.
6th Annual World AIDS Day Gala, December 2 at 7:00 p.m. The Basilica of St. Mary’s. For ticket information, please call 757.446.6170.
World AIDS Day Walk, December 3 at 10:00 a.m. Walk begins at Norfolk State University, New Student Center and will travel to Smith Rogers Hall at 358 Mowbray Arch, Norfolk. Event is free and open to the public.
For more information, please visit www.accessaids.org.