The City of West Hollywood is recognizing World AIDS Day with a series of events and programming on November 30 and December 1, in support of the worldwide fight against HIV/AIDS.
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 City’s annual recognition of World AIDS Day is an opportunity for us to remember loved ones lost over the last four decades to AIDS, to support those living with HIV, and to chart a course to end AIDS,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shyne. “Far too many people have died far too soon because of HIV and AIDS. In West Hollywood, for many years, we have declared that this is unacceptable. Our Human Services team works to support organizations that facilitate access to medical and emotional care, prevention and treatment, and resources. Our HIV Zero efforts help bring us toward the day we can all celebrate the end of suffering and loss from AIDS.”
This year’s World AIDS Day events and programming are as follows:
The 23rd Annual Paul Andrew Starke Warrior Awards will take place on Thursday, November 30, 2023 at 6:30 p.m. at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. The Warrior Awards event is free and open to the public and no RSVP is required. Limited validated parking will be available at the adjacent West Hollywood Park 5-Story structure.
Warrior Awards are given to outstanding employees or volunteers of local agencies that offer HIV/AIDS and/or substance abuse prevention and care services. This year’s event will feature keynote speaker Cathy Reback, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director of Friends Community Center, who will also receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.
This year’s Warrior Awards honorees, in addition, will be:
- Michael Buitron – APLA Health;
- Ramon Cervantes-Tadeo – C.I.T.Y. x1 Youth Group;
- Paul Chavez – Los Angeles LGBT Center;
- Kimberly Curtin, Pharm.D., APh – Men’s Health Foundation
- Susan Holt, Psy.D., LMFT – Being Alive;
- Ilene Kasser – The Tweakers Project;
- Prudence Mendiola – Friends Community Center; and
- John Sovec, LMFT – The Life Group LA.
AIDSWatch, the electronic memorial to people lost to HIV and AIDS, will be viewable on www.AIDSWatch.org and on the City of West Hollywood’s WeHoTV broadcast and streaming channels, including Spectrum Channel 10 within West Hollywood, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, December 1, 2023 for 24 hours.
The City of West Hollywood will join STORIES: The AIDS Monument and APLA Health in a World AIDS Day event on Friday, December 1, 2023. The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a reception at the West Hollywood Park Aquatic and Recreation Center (ARC) Respite Deck, located at 8750 El Tovar Place. After a short program with refreshments, attendees will descend the grand staircase of the ARC at 6:30 p.m. in a candlelight procession through West Hollywood Park and along N. Robertson, Santa Monica, and N. San Vicente Boulevards to the City’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. There, the evening will continue with a screening of the award-winning 2023 documentary Commitment to Life. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and the screening will begin promptly at 7:15 p.m. Events are free to attend and open to the public. Limited validated parking will be available at the West Hollywood Park 5-Story structure. Advance RSVP is requested by reserving a spot on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/world-aids-day-in-west-hollywood-tickets-750017812467.
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.