November 24, 2020 at 11:07 am EST | by Parker Purifoy
World AIDS Day arrives amid another pandemic
World AIDS Day, gay news, Washington Blade
Don’t expect Trump’s White House to include LGBTQ Americans in any World AIDS Day proclamations. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

With COVID-19 cases continuing to spike around the world, most events for World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 have been moved to virtual formats to continue bringing awareness to the AIDS epidemic.

The World AIDS Day organization has scheduled a virtual panel discussion for 9 a.m. on Tuesday with professionals in the field of HIV prevention and treatment to share how communities can reduce the stigma and impact of the disease. On the panel will be Assistant Professor at the University of Florida Richelle Joe, Community Liaison for Janssen Scientific Affairs Samuel Quintero, and Adam Troy, prevention manager at an Orlando-based nonprofit, Hope and Help.

CAMP Rehoboth is slated to hold one of the only in-person events in the region with a World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil and Service of Remembrance and Hope in Rehoboth Beach.

“This event has been a December tradition in Rehoboth Beach since the mid-1990s and no way is COVID going to stop us from remembering this important day,” the organization said in a statement on its website.

The vigil will start at 7 p.m. and attendees can participate in the candlelight drive-up vigil to watch from the safety of their cars. The service and reading of the names will be held under the outdoor portico at Epworth Methodist Church on Holland Glade Road in Rehoboth. The entire event will also be live streamed on CAMP Rehoboth’s Facebook page. If participants would like to add a name to be read during the service, the organization asks that they call them at 302-227-5620.

Several chapters of Delta Sigma Theta are banding together to host a “Rock the Ribbon” virtual panel presentation on Tuesday to commemorate World AIDS Day. Those who wish to attend can register for the 6:30 p.m. event online.

Youth Stop AIDS — a U.K.-based nonprofit — has scheduled a screening of “After 82: The Untold Story of the AIDS Crisis in the UK,” a documentary focusing on personal stories of the AIDS crisis in the UK. The film features interviews with actor Jonathan Blake who lived with AIDS for more than 30 years. The screening is scheduled for Nov. 29 starting at 12:30 p.m. EST.

AIDS Delaware will stage a free, virtual panel discussion on Dec. 5 with panelists who are currently living with HIV/AIDS and can speak on how the virus has impacted their lives. The panel, which starts at 1 p.m., will feature activist and author Tez Anderson, activist and motivational speaker Hydeia Broadbent, and Emmy Award-winning author Marvelyn Brown.

Anderson coined the term AIDS Survivor Syndrome—ASS—to describe the effects of living with HIV/AIDS in the long term. He also founded Let’s Kick ASS, a San Francisco-based group designed to empower long-term HIV survivors and help them connect with one another. He also coined the term AIDS Survivor Syndrome to describe the effects of living with HIV/AIDS in the long term.

Broadbent was diagnosed with AIDS at age three and now spends her time raising awareness of the virus by promoting safe-sex practices. She became a public speaker at age six and over the next thirty years, she’s appeared in the New York Times, People, the Oprah Show, and Teen People. Ebony Magazine named Broadbent one of the most influential African Americans in 2008 and 2011.

Brown has spoken at hundreds of colleges, universities, and conferences around the world to spread her story of contracting HIV when she was 19. She’s been featured on CNN’s Black America, Frontline’s Endgame, and America’s Next Top Model. In 2007, she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding National Public Service Announcement.

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