World AIDS Day Events in the Big Apple
According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the city remains the epicenter of HIV and AIDS in this country. More than 107,000 New Yorkers are living with HIV, but thousands don’t even know they are infected.
With the AIDS case rate nearly three times the U.S. average, New York has a lot to remember on World AIDS Day. Through a combination of candlelight vigils, health fairs, HIV testing days and a special art exhibition by Gay Men’s Health Crisis and the Leslie-Lohman Museum, health advocates hope to spread the message that the fight against HIV/AIDS is far from over.
"For more than 25 years, World AIDS Day gives the planet the opportunity to think about the devastating impact this disease has had on our humanity," Leslie-Lohman’s director, Hunter O’Hanian, told EDGE. "Many among us live with HIV and AIDS on a daily basis. This is a chance to remind everyone that the fight is not over and that through art, music and other creative forms of expression, we will continue to keep it in the public’s mind until a cure, one which will be available to all, is found."
On Dec. 1, join with others for "Out of the Darkness," a candlelight vigil. Participants will gather at 6 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church at 164 W. 100th St. at Amsterdam Avenue and proceed to the Advent Lutheran Church/Broadway United Church of Christ at 2504 Broadway at 93rd Street. At 6:30 p.m., there will a reading of the names of those lost to AIDS. Sections of the International AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display.
Join a daylong Housing Works World AIDS Vigil on Monday, Dec. 3, at Cadman Plaza East in Downtown Brooklyn. The event will feature a reading of names of those who have fallen victim to AIDS. People are encouraged to bring their own names to be read.
The theme, "Housing is Healthcare: House People Living With HIV/AIDS," reflects Housing Work’s mission on addressing homelessness and housing instability for those infected. The vigil will begin at 8 a.m. and go to 8 p.m.
GMHC has also taken the lead on providing free HIV testing from Nov. 28 to Dec. 8 throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. See the complete list of HIV testing sites below.
Free HIV screenings will be available at the 2012 World AIDS Day Healthy Living Expo, held on Dec. 4 and 5 at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany. The expo will provide HIV prevention education workshops on body image, movement, dating and domestic violence and bullying and suicide prevention.
In addition to testing, GMHC will partner with Iris House to host "We’re Not Taking It Lying Down," a discussion on health and wellness for women of color, on Sunday, Dec. 9, from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Adam Clayton Powell. Jr. State Office Building in Harlem at 163 W. 125th St.
"Joining forces with GMHC’s Women’s Institute on this campaign adds a stronger voice to the need for services for women of color," said Iris House Executive Director Ingrid Floyd. "I hope that through this campaign we are able to reach women who generally do not see themselves at risk of HIV and encourage them to get tested and know their status."
Guests speakers include GMHC CEO Dr. Marjorie Hill, Iris House’s Ofelia Barrios, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS President (and former Manhattan Borough President) C. Virginia Fields, activist Michelle Lopez, author Sylvia Ortiz and Rev. Dr. Renee Washington Gardner of the Memorial Baptist Church. Free HIV testing and lunch will be provided.
On Nov. 29 in Harlem, continue the education at the NYC Men’s Roundtable on STI, HIV & AIDS. Activist Amir Figueroa will lead the discussion. The event will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Connect, 127 W. 127th St., Room 432. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-683-0015 x225 for information.
With the holidays approaching, the time is perfect for Survivors of Mothers with AIDS 4th Annual Toy Drive, benefiting families affected by the disease. Attendees should bring a toy or toys for kids up to 16 years old, which will be distributed on Dec. 8 at GMHC’s annual family holiday party. The toy drive will be held on Sunday, Dec. 2, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Escuelita, 301 W. 39th St. Admission is free with a toy, $10 without.
Art & AIDS at Leslie-Lohman Museum
At the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, curators Osvaldo Perdomo and David Livingston have put together a stunning art exhibit, "Art & AIDS: It’s Not Over." Working in partnership with GMHC, the museum has gathered together 170 works by 38 artists whose pieces speak to the AIDS epidemic.
"The exhibition displays prevalent issues as well as hopeful messages from people living with HIV and AIDS," said Perdomo. "Some of the artists will be sharing their personal truth, which is not an easy thing to do. I thank them for their courage."
The works will be exhibited from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2 at the museum. Also featured is a Dec. 1 panel discussion, "Art & AIDS: The Fight is Not Over," held from 6 to 8 p.m. on World AIDS Day. Proceeds from the sales will go directly to artists, with pieces sold at the silent auction to benefit GHMC.
"For many of the artists, participating in the art classes is a healing experience to express emotions about living with HIV/AIDS and the epidemic overall," Hill said. "In fact, for some, this will be the first time ever exhibiting art work in a renowned gallery. We are so appreciative of the museum’s ongoing generosity, especially as we move forward in assisting our clients after the hurricane."
Members of the Imperial Court of New York will be volunteering at the Nov. 27 opening reception, as well as Leila Lopes, the reigning Miss Universe.
The museum is located at 26 Wooster St. in Soho.
World AIDS Day - Free HIV Testing (*Please note the testing days with an asterisk are open to the general public)
• Wednesday, Nov. 28, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: *Marble Collegiate Church, 1 W. 29th St., Manhattan
• Thursday, Nov. 29, 11:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.: Jewish American Services Administration, 2705 Scheley Ave, Bronx
• Friday, Nov. 30, 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.: *Brooklyn Knows (NYCDOHMH Testing Initiative): Brooklyn’s Got Talent Stop HIV Remix, 180 Remsen St., Brooklyn Heights
• Saturday, Dec. 1, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: CUNY Department of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, Division for Workers Education, 25 Broadway, Seventh floor, Manhattan
• Saturday, Dec. 1, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.: *Countee Cullen Library, 104 W. 136th St., Harlem
• Wednesday, Dec. 5, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.: United Nations, Labouisse Hall, Unicef House, 3 UN Plaza, East Midtown
• Thursday, Dec. 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: *Mercy College, 555 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.
• Saturday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: *Greenwich Village Chamber of Commerce Health Fair, Beth Israel Treatment Center for Cerebral Palsy, 309 West 23rd St., Manhattan