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World AIDS Day: AIDS is not over (Be part of the change this year)

Each year as we post advances in the decades-long battle against AIDS, we are reminded that this crisis that has gripped the world is not over. 

Last month, I discovered an old journal of mine from 1990 — a time period where our region was just beginning to suffer the devastating loss of lives that had for years earlier plagued the coasts and other major cities. As I read the entries, I was reminded of the fears, isolation, but also deaths that were occurring during this period of our city’s history. 

And while we have seen advances in health that are moving this into a manageable disease extending many people’s lives through the drugs offered today (but not then), AIDS is not over, and on December 1, our community will join others around the world to ensure we never forget those lives lost but also those who remain advocates and work for an AIDS-free world. 

The Grand Rapids Red Project on December 1 will be hosting the 30th annual World AIDS Day special event at downtown’s Bethlehem Lutheran Church (250 Commerce SW).

This year’s theme of the “Thread That Connects Us All” will address the need to work to still prevent infections but also the advocating for new treatments for those with HIV. These events rooted in LGBTQ community, one of the first populations to be impacted in America, will also seek to reduce the stigma too often still associated with those many diverse individuals who are living with it. It is not, nor has it ever been, just something that impacted the LGBTQ. It touches all of us 30 years later. 

This event will honor all those souls we have lost to HIV-related complications and support those currently living with HIV. We must never forget.

If you also recall, in the 1990s, the AIDS Quilt from the Names Project toured this region a few times and so in that spirit of remembering those lost, event organizers will be encouraging folks to write the name of a loved one or a message of love on a fabric square that will be stitched together, symbolizing that no one is lost and we will remember. 

The event is free to attend and will be hosting a silent auction to raise money for the work of our local nonprofit the Grand Rapids Red Project.

Immediately following the program, guests are encouraged to join others at an after party held at Rumors. 
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