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World AIDS Day marked by health fair, vigils

LOS ANGELES — A health fair at County-USC Medical Center and candlelight vigils in West Hollywood, Claremont and Pasadena were among Los Angeles County events held to commemorate World AIDS Day Dec. 1.

The health fair at County-USC Medical Center ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and featured HIV and AIDS educational booths provided by community agencies, free rapid HIV testing and information regarding services available at the Rand Schrader HIV Clinic in Boyle Heights.

The 22nd annual Noche de Las Memorias, commemorating the lives of people who died from AIDS and recommitting to the effort to prevent further illness among populations effected by HIV and AIDS, was held in the evening at the Las Memorias AIDS Monument in Lincoln Park in Lincoln Heights.

The event included speeches by community leaders, live music and the unveiling of new names on the monument.

The West Hollywood vigil began at 6 p.m. at the corner of Crescent Heights and Santa Monica boulevards.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt was on display at West Hollywood City Hall during the day. The evening also included a public viewing of “AIDSWATCH,” described by a city official as “an electronic memorial presenting one name, one memory, one life at a time.”

It was shown through midnight on WeHoTV and on the city’s website.

HIV activist Daniel V. Lara was posthumously honored at AltaMed Health Service’s East Los Angeles Clinic. Lara, who died in 1992, is credited with paving the way for comprehensive HIV care in the Latino community.

In his World AIDS Day proclamation, President Barack Obama declared, “On World AIDS Day, we remember those who we have lost to HIV/AIDS, celebrate the triumphs earned through the efforts of scores of advocates and providers, pledge our support for those at risk for or living with HIV, and rededicate our talents and efforts to achieving our goal of an AIDS-free generation.

“Today, more people are receiving life-saving treatment for HIV than ever before, and millions of HIV infections have been prevented. Still, more than 36 million people around the world live with HIV —including nearly 3 million children.”

The proclamation continued: “Working with private industry, faith communities, philanthropic organizations, the scientific and medical communities, networks of people living with HIV and affected populations, and governments worldwide, we can accomplish our goals of reducing new HIV infections, increasing access to care, improving health outcomes for patients, reducing HIV-related disparities, and building a cohesive, coordinated response to HIV.

“On this day, let us pay tribute to those whom HIV/AIDS took from us too soon, and let us recognize those who continue to fight for a world free from AIDS.

“Let us also recognize researchers, providers, and advocates, who work each day on behalf of people living with HIV, and in honor of the precious lives we have lost to HIV.

“Together, we can forge a future in which no person — here in America or anywhere in our world — knows the pain or stigma caused by HIV/AIDS.”

 

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