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The Global Tragedy of AIDS Will Never Be Forgotten

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World AIDS Day is held on December 1 of each year. It provides an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show their support for individuals living with the virus, and to commemorate friends, family members, co-workers and others who have died as a result of HIV/AIDS. Globally, an estimated 34 million people now have HIV. We have all been touched in some way by this virus.

Today, we benefit from many scientific advances in HIV treatment. There are laws to protect people living with HIV, and we understand so much more about the condition. In spite of this, new infections still happen, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with HIV. World AIDS Day reminds us that there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.

San Francisco remains at the forefront of HIV/AIDS care. In SF alone, close to 30,000 residents currently live with HIV. By the end of 2013, the caseload likely will have increased by 800-1000. The holidays can be an especially hard time due to concerns over health, finances, family and more. Countering that is a year-round gift for us: the National AIDS Memorial Grove. In this beautiful, vibrant space within San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, all of us who have been affected directly or indirectly by AIDS can gather to heal, hope and remember.

The National AIDS Memorial Grove, like World AIDS Day itself, signifies that the global tragedy of AIDS will never be forgotten.