Back to Life, Positively 2020 Index…

Taking part in 2020 World AIDS Day observances world-wide have been severely effected by the global novel coronavirus pandemic. Unlike previous years, the number of live events have been brought to an almost complete halt. However, the Internet has been an essential tool for staying connected over the last number of months and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Nonetheless, having the opportunity to have Zoom and live-streamed events for World AIDS Day have made this year’s options more accessible.

The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day, as established by the U.S. government, is “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact.” World AIDS Day was first observed in 1988. Each year on Dec. 1, organizations and individuals across the world bring attention to the HIV epidemic, endeavor to increase HIV awareness and knowledge, speak out against HIV stigma and call for an increased response to move toward an end to HIV/AIDS. Visit to learn more.

UN AIDS’s global theme this year is “Global solidarity, shared responsibility.” COVID-19 has shown that during a pandemic, no one is safe until everyone is safe, the organization shared. “Eliminating stigma and discrimination, putting people at the centre and grounding our responses in human rights and gender-responsive approaches are key to ending the colliding pandemics of HIV and COVID-19,” UN AIDS added. Those living with HIV are even more challenged during these times. The “crisis has also been a wake-up call, an opportunity to do things differently — better, and together. In many respects, the defeat of AIDS as a public health threat depends on how the world responds to COVID-19.”

UNAIDS stated: “Now is the moment for bold leadership for equal societies, the right to health for all and a robust and equitable global recovery. This World AIDS Day join us in calling on countries to step up their efforts to achieve healthier societies. This World AIDS Day let us demand global solidarity and shared responsibility.” Visit to learn more.

The list below are some of the ways that the community can show their respect to those lost and to bring awareness to the cause toward ending HIV/AIDS.

World AIDS Day Luncheon
Dec. 1, 7-7:30 p.m.

This live-streamed program will allow attendees to join in from the comfort of their own homes. join with other community leaders at A World AIDS Day Luncheon. Leadership will send a message to Charlotte that there is a strong community of compassion fighting this disease and that no one is alone. To get involved, contact Joyce Brooks at or call 704-973-9819. Visit to learn more as details are firmed up. Host and sponsors for tables are requested.

World AIDS Day Virtual Event
Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP)
Dec. 1, Various Times

Throughout the day, WNCAP will be commemorating World AIDS Day by remembering those lost and celebrating those who are helping to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic once and for all. The virtual event will also feature the premiere of the WNCAP Mini-Docs, a series of short documentaries that highlight the people it serves in Western North Carolina. All six of the WNCAP Mini-Docs, each of which focuses on a different personal story and aspect of WNCAP’s mission, will stream the e-newsletter to participate.

Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility
Virtual World AIDS Day & Giving Tuesday Reception
House of Mercy
Dec. 1, 6-6:30 p.m.

The virtual, live-streamed reception will remember House of Mercy residents from 1991-2020, and to honor those affected by HIV/AIDS and the allies who support them. Visit the website for more information as the time nears.
#GivingTuesday, the first Tuesday following Thanksgiving was created as a day of giving following Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday shopping days. With generous gifts, House of Mercy will continue to be a safe haven for its neighbors living with HIV/AIDS who can no longer care for themselves. Current funds are needed for these costs: $250 operates transportation vans for a month; $100 feeds residents for three days; $50 pays for residence telephone service for a week; and $25 buys three days of cleaning and laundry supplies. The Sisters of Mercy provide funds sufficient to cover all of their administrative costs, so entire donations support direct services for residents.

World AIDS Day Testing
Affinity Health Center
Dec. 1, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
455 Lakeshore Pkwy., Rock Hill

Walk-in testing is available for those seeking to know their status.

Extended Testing Hours for
World AIDS Day
Piedmont Care
Dec. 1, 8:30 p.m.-7 p.m.
101 N. Pine St., Suite 200, Spartanburg

Piedmont Care will be extending their hours of operation to give the community extra time to get tested. Walk ins are welcome.

World AIDS Day
A National Conversation
National AIDS Memorial
Dec. 1, 1 p.m.

A virtual forum and discussion about health justice, social activism, remembrance and hope will be held on World AIDS Day and will feature keynote speakers and recipients of the 2020 National Leadership Recognition Awards — this year honoring Dr. Anthony Fauci, director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. David Ho, director, Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Columbia University. Other speakers will also be making presentations during the event. Discussions areas focus on medical and scientific leadership, activism that sparks change and movements, impact on marginalized communities and a look to the future.

In addition to this event, the AIDS Memorial Quilt will continue to be on display digitally with representation from all 50 states. It soft launches on Nov. 16 and continues through March 31, 2021. The unveiling will take place officially on World AIDS Day and cam be viewed online. Cost is $500. To learn more about how to host, visit

World AIDS Day Rock the Ribbon
World AIDS Day
Dec. 1

The #ROCKTHERIBBON campaign shares that rocking a red ribbon not only completes any outfit; it shows everyone — especially people living with HIV and their families — community support. The organization has everything needed to rock the ribbon in the workplace, school, college, university or on social media. Purchases can be obtained from an online shop and include free red ribbons and/or a virtual events pack with a virtual ribbon if those planning to fundraise for the National AIDS Trust, as well as posters and images for social media.

27th Annual Noche De Las Memorias
World AIDS Day
Dec. 1, 6 p.m. PST

The Wall Las Memorias with their 27th Annual Noche de Las Memorias. This year’s community event, dedicated to remembering the lives and memories of those who we have lost to the AIDS epidemic, will be virtual and will be broadcast to a national audience with live and taped elements emanating from The Wall Las Memorias AIDS Monument in Lincoln Park. The evening will be comprised of inspirational messages, prayer, musical performances, poetry, and the emotional highpoint will be personal testimonials from those that have lost loved ones. Laura Cerón, Wilson Cruz, U.S. Congressman Jimmy Gomez, Justina Machado, Kenny Ortega And Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Hilda Solis will all take part in the event, with musical performances by Juan Pablo Di Pace and Lena Marie. “This year the need for Noche de Las Memorias is more important than ever,” said Richard Zaldivar, founder and executive director of The Wall Las Memorias Project. “As the entire world grapples with the current coronavirus health crisis, we need to ensure that the millions we have lost to HIV and AIDS are both honored and mourned, while we work to end the HIV epidemic by 2030.”  The event will be live on Facebook Live, YouTube and Zoom.

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Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.