November 30, 2016 at 2:30 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Local groups to commemorate World AIDS Day
The White House on Dec. 1, 2015, commemorates World AIDS Day. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The White House on Dec. 1, 2015, commemorates World AIDS Day. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Whitman-Walker Health on Thursday will hold two events to commemorate World AIDS Day.

The HIV/AIDS service organization and the United Community Group will co-host a World AIDS Day gathering at Union Temple Baptist Church (1225 W St., S.E.) in Southeast D.C. from 8:45-10:30 a.m. Cleve Jones, a long-time LGBT rights activist who interned with then-San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk before his assassination in 1978, will discuss his new memoir at All Souls Church (1500 Harvard St., N.W.) in Northwest Washington from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

NOVA Salud, an HIV/AIDS service organization that serves northern Virginia, is holding a World AIDS Day vigil at its Falls Church offices (2946 Sleepy Hollow Road, 3C, Falls Church, Va.) on Wednesday. NOVA Salud Executive Director Hugo Delgado will be honored at a reception that the Alexandria Commission on HIV/AIDS and Safe Space are co-hosting at the Alley Cat Restaurant in Alexandria on Thursday from 6-9 p.m.

First held in 1988, this year’s World AIDS Day took place less than a month after Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.

The Washington Blade earlier this week reported KT McFarland, a Fox News commentator who Trump has tapped to become his deputy national security adviser, outed her gay brother to her parents before he died of AIDS in 1995.

A preliminary version of the city’s annual HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report that the D.C. Department of Health released in February indicates there were 396 new HIV cases in 2014, compared to the 553 that officials reported in 2013. This figure represents a 29 percent decrease in new infections.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes new HIV diagnoses in the U.S. decreased by 19 percent between 2005-2014. New infections, however, rose 6 percent among men who have sex with men during the same period.

The preliminary version of D.C.’s annual HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report indicates nearly half of all new HIV cases reported in 2014 were from MSM. The CDC notes the epidemic continues to disproportionately impact gay and bisexual Latino and black men.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation indicates nearly 700,000 people have died from HIV/AIDS since the epidemic began in 1981. UNAIDS estimates that 36.7 million people around the world were living with HIV at the end of 2015.

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin is among those who are scheduled to speak at a World AIDS Day summit that will take place at Tulane University in New Orleans on Thursday. The White House Office of Public Engagement has organized the event along with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Forum for Equality, a Louisiana LGBT advocacy group.

Advocates around the world have also scheduled World AIDS Day commemorations.

The AIDS Committee of Ottawa on Thursday will raise a red ribbon flag outside the Canadian Parliament. The Neengar Society in Pakistan plans to organize a series of film screenings on HIV/AIDS awareness for gay and transgender young people in the city of Multan in Punjab province.

The Botswana LGBTI Coalition on Wednesday hosted a panel discussion on World AIDS Day and what it means for LGBT people in the southern African country. The event’s theme is “Hands Up for HIV Prevention.”

“This public forum aims to bring lived realities of LGBTI persons in Botswana in relation to HIV and AIDS,” a local HIV/AIDS advocate told the Washington Blade.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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