World AIDS Day will mark its 34th year Thursday and San Francisco is honoring the solemn occasion.
Dignitaries, guests and the public are invited to attend the observance at the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
At 1 p.m, the traditional reading of names lost to AIDS will take place.
Organizers say they have planned three powerful presentations for the event, moderated by ABC7’s Reggie Aqui and Michelle Meow from the Commonwealth Club. The presentations include “Reflections with Cleve Jones and 35 Years of the Quilt,” “The State of the Epidemic Today with Leaders from the Frontlines,” and “Young Leaders Making an Impact.”
Cleve Jones, founder of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, will attend, along with Dr. Diane Havlir, chief of HIV infectious diseases for UCSF, Tyler TerMeer from the SF AIDS Foundation, soprano vocalist Breanna Sinclaire, and National AIDS Memorial CEO John Cunningham. Mayor London Breed has also been invited.
According to the World Health Organization, since the AIDS crisis began, 84.2 million people worldwide have been infected with HIV and 40.1 million have died.
San Francisco’s HIV rates ticked up in 2021, according to the city’s Department of Public Health. There was a 16 percent increase in infections, with 160 HIV diagnoses in 2021 versus 131 in 2020.