The City of West Hollywood joined STORIES: The AIDS Monument and APLA Health for an event recognizing World AIDS Day, on Friday, December 1, 2023, in support of the worldwide fight against HIV/AIDS. There was a reception at the West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center (ARC) Respite Deck, followed by a candlelight procession through West Hollywood Park and a screening of the award-winning 2023 documentary Commitment to Life.
Speakers included Irwin M. Rappaport, the Board Chair of the Foundation for the AIDS Monument which is building STORIES: The AIDS Monument in West Hollywood, Craig Bowers, Chief Marketing & External Affairs Officer, Council member John Heilman, and Brenda Freiberg who spoke about her two sons being diagnosed with HIV and then losing them both AIDS, which began her tireless work as an HIV/AIDS activism.
West Hollywood council members Lauren Meister and Chelsea Byers were at the event. They were joined by Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath. The office of Assessor Jeffrey Prang presented STORIES: The AIDS Monument and APLA Health with a certificate of recognition for their work.
Each year, the City of West Hollywood recognizes World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day originated at the 1988 United Nations World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS Prevention and recognition takes place each year on December 1.
World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate people who have passed away due to HIV/AIDS. Annually, UNAIDS agencies, governments, nonprofit organizations, community groups, and others across the globe join to campaign around specific themes related to AIDS. The theme of this year’s #WorldAIDSDay is “Let Communities Lead” to shine light on how community-led interventions are central to the end of AIDS.
The onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic had a significant impact in West Hollywood. The disease’s elevated infection rate among gay men caused a devastatingly high number of deaths in the City. The City of West Hollywood was one of the first government entities to provide social services grants to local HIV/AIDS organizations. The City of West Hollywood sponsored one of the first AIDS awareness campaigns in the country in October 1985 and the City’s response to the AIDS crisis has been recognized as a model for other cities, nationally and globally.
The City of West Hollywood actively participates in the development of programs that can bring awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemic and services to people living with HIV/AIDS. In January 2015, the City announced its vision to become an ‘HIV Zero’ city. The City is currently implementing its HIV Zero Strategic Initiative.