An estimated 30 million people worldwide have died from HIV/AIDS since its discovery in 1981, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. On Saturday, World AIDS Day, local residents will have a chance to learn about what’s being done to combat the virus globally and in America, and to commemorate lives lost as Pasadena hosts two events.
From 11 a.m. to 12: 30 p.m. at Fuller Theological Seminary, the Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA) hosts a symposium called “Toward an AIDS-free generation: Where do we stand?” featuring discussions from some of the world’s leading researchers and scientists in the field.
Later, from 7 to 9 p.m., Messiah Lutheran Church opens its doors for a vigil, sponsored by the Pasadena Pride Center and Good Shepherd Church Pasadena, to honor all who have been affected by HIV/AIDS, living and deceased.
With a welcome from GAIA Global Ambassador actress Jane Kaczmarek, the Fuller Seminary symposium features a panel discussion moderated by Michael Gottlieb, the physician and scientist who authored the first report identifying AIDS as a new disease. Gottlieb will give a presentation that takes a look at the past 31 years of HIV/AIDS research.
Thomas J. Coates, distinguished professor of global AIDS research and director of the Center for World Health at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, will speak on “Global Progress and New Challenges in HIV Prevention,” while Pasadena Public Health Department Director Eric Walsh takes a look at AIDS in America.
John A. Zaia, professor and chairman of the Department of Virology at City of Hope’s Beckman Research Institute, will share highlights from current research projects and discuss vaccine prospects in the future.
“We Remember” reaches spectators on an emotional level with a concert by choir singers from throughout Southern California. Four AIDS Memorial quilt panels will be on display, courtesy of the nonprofit Names Project in Atlanta. The event is free, but donations will be collected for the comprehensive HIV dental clinic at Pasadena’s Andrew Escajeda Clinic, opened earlier this month.
If you cannot attend the events, you can still play a role in HIV/AIDS awareness, says Anthony Guthmiller, executive director of Pasadena’s AIDS Service Center.
“Talk to someone about HIV,” he advised. “If every single person just broached the topic with one other person, it would make a huge impact.”