In Times Square on Sunday, the chant of “end AIDS now” echoed as Housing Works, an organization that helps homeless and low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS, and nearly 1,000 supporters took to the streets to mark World AIDS Day.
This year’s commemoration had a faithful message.
“Seven years from today we gather again at this very place in a great day of celebration. In a day to say that we were there at the beginning of the end. To say to our loved ones who passed on that we kept the faith, we kept up the fight and AIDS did not win,” said Charles King, president and CEO of Housing Works, about his dreams for the future.
The rally demanded political action against the AIDS epidemic in New York through, among other initiatives, comprehensive prevention education and social justice.
“We need to get our political leaders all in on ending AIDS. This is completely doable. This is entirely by political will and targeting our resources where we know the epidemic lives to bring it to an end and that’s really about leadership,” said Daniel Tietz, executive director of AIDS Community Research Initiative of America, addressing his comments to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.
More than 1.1 million people are living with HIV in the United States; 130,000 of them are New Yorkers.
The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day was “Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation,” and in a press release President Barack Obama declared, “If we channel our energy and compassion into science-based results, an AIDS-free generation is within our reach.”