SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — In Santa Clara County, local organizations along with the County’s Public Health Department and City of San Jose are commemorating the 33rd annual World AIDS Day.
On Wednesday, a candlelight vigil, flag raising, and other ceremonies will be hosted throughout the county.
Each December 1 since 1988, World AIDS Day brings people together worldwide to fight against HIV, to show support for the millions of people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.
The day also remembers the 6,778 people diagnosed with HIV in the county since the beginning of the fight against the disease, including 4,956 people diagnosed with AIDS.
Free, public events take place in San Jose and around the world — event details can be found at the Silicon Valley World AIDS Day website.
“Santa Clara County has never stopped working to support people living with HIV by funding programs like the Getting to Zero new HIV infections,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.
“We already had the science we needed to stop new HIV infections and HIV related deaths,” Chavez added.
“But the County understood that all the medicine and prevention in the world means nothing if you don’t get it to the people who need it.”
It’s being reported that some racial and ethnic groups remain disproportionately impacted by HIV.
In 2020, Hispanic/Latino residents accounted for 56% of new HIV diagnoses in the county — followed by African Americans accounting for nine percent of new cases, while only representing two percent of the overall population of the county.
“For the past two years, County staff and community partners have continued working tirelessly to maintain life-saving HIV services despite the heavy burden of the COVID-19 response,” said Dr. Sarah Rudman, Assistant Health Officer with the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department.
“In some of the darkest times, they continued providing HIV testing, HIV prevention medication, and connections to HIV medical care that were a lifeline for community members urgently needing those services.”
Since 2014, the county is recording consistently higher percentage of successful early linage to medical care for those living with HIV compared to the national average.
The Santa Clara County Getting to Zero initiative focuses on reaching zero new HIV infections, zero stigma, and zero HIV-related deaths.
HIV positive individuals who learn about their infections early and get early access to medical care live longer, healthier lives and are less likely to spread the disease to others.
World AIDS Day Events throughout Santa Clara County:
In-person and virtual options are available for each event.
San Jose City Rotunda Lights Up for World AIDS Day
Tuesday, November 30 – Monday, December 6
200 E Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95113
Sponsored by Councilmember Raul Peralez
Proclamation at San Jose City Council
Tuesday, November 30 at 11 a.m.
Councilmember Raul Peralez
Recorded live stream: https://www.sanjoseca.gov/news-stories/watch-a-meeting
County of Santa Clara Flag Raising Ceremony and Proclamation
Wednesday, December 1 at 12:30 p.m.
In-person: 70 W Hedding Street, McEntee Plaza, San Jose, CA 95110
Speakers: Supervisor Cindy Chavez and Dr. Sarah Rudman, Assistant Health Officer
Live stream at https://sccgov-org.zoom.us/j/99510135121 (Meeting ID 995 1013 5121)
Candlelight Vigil at the Rotunda
Wednesday, December 1 at 6 p.m.
Hosted by Silicon Valley Pride
In-person: 200 E Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95113
Live stream at bit.ly/svpride-facebook and bit.ly/svpride-youtube