The AIDS Healthcare Foundation expects hundreds of participants to gather Sunday evening in West Hollywood for its candlelight vigil and march on the 30th anniversary of the first official AIDS diagnosis.
An AHF spokesperson said the event has been conceived as a tribute to those who have been lost to HIV/AIDS, as well as an opportunity to look forward, as activists and members of the community continue to fight the epidemic.
AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a disease that attacks and weakens people's immune system, leaving them susceptible to opportunistic infections and tumors. It is caused by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), though the virus does not always progress to full-blown AIDS, particularly if treated early.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, AIDS has contributed to the deaths of more than 600,000 men, women and children in the United States since its discovery in 1981.
Although AIDS-related deaths are generally in decline, several hundred such deaths are still recorded each year in Los Angeles County. It has been estimated that more than 30 million have died from AIDS globally.
The nonprofit AHF, founded in 1987, is the nation’s largest provider of HIV/AIDS treatment, with centers in 22 countries.
Sunday night’s “Remember AIDS” event will begin at 7 p.m. at Matthew Shepard Memorial Park at the junction of Santa Monica and Crescent Heights boulevards.
At 8 p.m., a candlelight march will proceed west along Santa Monica Boulevard, arriving at on San Vicente Boulevard, just south of Santa Monica Boulevard.
Around 9 p.m., AIDSWatch.com will present a large-screen projection of names of those who have died from HIV/AIDS, along with visual highlights from HIV/AIDS history. In addition, Broadway singer and recording artist Sam Harris will perform.
A post-march event is planned at , adjacent to the park at 692 N. Robertson Blvd.