San Francisco, Oct. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National AIDS Memorial will bring together powerful voices from the AIDS and Covid-19 pandemics on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2020, for an inspiring discussion about health justice, social activism, remembrance and hope.  

World AIDS Day 2020 – A National Conversation will spotlight the interconnectedness of both pandemics -- the lives lost, the survivors, the activism and the heroes. Through a distinguished list of guest speakers, video storytelling, and musical tributes, the topics and conversations will help answer the questions about how a nation responds, how it heals, and what lessons must be learned for the future. 

During the event the National AIDS Memorial will honor Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and David D. Ho, M.D., Director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Columbia University, with its National Recognition Leadership Award.   As renowned health experts who have been on the frontlines of both the AIDS and Covid-19 pandemics, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Ho will be recognized for their lifelong commitment, work and profound impact they have had over the span of 40 years and two pandemics in advancing science, treatments and education around both diseases.

“These two individuals have stood at the forefront in the fight against HIV/AIDS for more than four decades, and today stand on the frontlines in the battle against Covid-19,” said John Cunningham, Executive Director of the National AIDS Memorial. “We are honored to recognize their tireless work on World AIDS Day this year as we pull the thread that connects these two pandemics, particularly around science, loss of life, health and social justice.”

World AIDS Day 2020 – A National Conversation will be presented virtually at aidsmemorial.org beginning at 10 am PDT on December 1.  The event will be free to the public.  

  • Medical and Scientific Leadership -- Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. David Ho will lead a conversation about medical and scientific advancements during both pandemics and offer important insights on the health, research and long-term impacts of HIV/AIDS and Covid-19.
  • Impact on Marginalized Communities -- A conversation on how HIV/AIDS and Covid-19 have disproportionately affected communities of color and the systemic barriers that compound poor health outcomes.
  • Activism that Sparks Change and Movements – A discussion with leaders whose actions have made a difference during both pandemics, demanding social and health justice.
  • A Look to the Future -- Voices from two generations of leaders coming together to help shape the way a nation responds, heals, and remembers those lost to both pandemics.

The presenting partner for this year’s World AIDS Day event is Gilead Sciences, a long-standing partner of the National AIDS Memorial.  Last year Gilead provided a $2.4 million grant to support the programs of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, including its move to San Francisco under the stewardship of the National AIDS Memorial.

Co-sponsors for the event are Chevron and Quest Diagnostics.  Additional sponsors include Blue Shield of California, Excelerate Foundation, National Hemophilia Foundation, Murray Reese Foundation, ViventHealth and Wells Fargo. 

“This year World AIDS Day takes on new meaning as our nation continues to experience the human, social and economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Daniel O’Day, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Gilead Sciences. “Gilead is proud to be a long-standing partner to the National AIDS Memorial, and applauds its vision to bring leaders together from across our country for important conversations about health, justice, social activism and remembrance.”

2020 marks 40 years since the first cases of AIDS were reported in the United States, a pandemic that has led to nearly 700,000 lives lost and still no cure four decades later. This year, our nation struggles through another pandemic -- the fight against Covid-19 – the horrific loss of life has surpassed 220,000 in a matter of months.

As the nation still struggles with both pandemics, the National AIDS Memorial will officially unveil its first-ever virtual exhibition of the AIDS Memorial Quilt on World AIDS Day that will feature more than 10,000 Quilt panels representing all 50 states and U.S. territories.  The memorial is inviting interested panelmakers, individuals and  organizations to be part of this historic effort to use the power of the Quilt to help a nation heal and remember during these difficult times.

Each year, World AIDS Day brings people together to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS, show their support for people living with HIV and commemorate lives lost. The National AIDS Memorial is looked upon as the organization within the national landscape to remember, honor and help ensure the stories of the AIDS pandemic are never forgotten.

To learn more about the National AIDS Memorial World AIDS Day commemoration, the virtual AIDS Quilt exhibition, how to participate and support the events, please visit aidsmemorial.org/wad2020.   

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About the National AIDS Memorial  The National AIDS Memorial, through the AIDS Memorial Grove, AIDS Memorial Quilt, and inspiring programs, helps ensure that the story of AIDS and the AIDS movement is known in perpetuity so that never again will our national conscience allow a community to be devastated by an epidemic because of fear, silence, discrimination or stigma.  The memorial relies solely on funding from personal donors, foundations and corporate partners to support its mission and programs. Learn more at  www.aidsmemorial.org.

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Kevin Herglotz
National AIDS Memorial
415-874-9650
kherglotz@aidsmemorial.org