In the long fight against HIV/AIDS, the National AIDS Memorial honors the more than 700,000 lives lost to AIDS during the past four decades. 

June 5th marks 40 years since the first cases of AIDS were reported in the United States. It is also HIV Long-Term Survivors Awareness Day. The issues our nation faced in the past year -- a raging pandemic with hundreds of thousands of lives lost, social injustice, health inequity, stigma, bigotry and fear – are also the issues faced throughout four decades of the AIDS pandemic.  It is why today, we have a National AIDS Memorial.

As the nation’s federally designated national memorial to honor the lives lost to AIDS, our mission is so much more, particularly as we face a rise in HIV rates today, particularly in communities of color and among Black gay men and young people.

Through powerful programs, the National AIDS Memorial shares the story of HIV/AIDS as a teaching tool to help educate and raise greater awareness.   We offer healing and hope to survivors and those living with HIV today and help inspire a new generation of leaders to carry the torch against health and social injustice and end the root causes of both.

“On this solemn day, forty years since the discovery of HIV/AIDS, Americans pay tribute to the hundreds of thousands of Americans we have lost to this vicious disease and draw strength from the more than one million courageous survivors living with HIV today. Moved by the beauty of the Grove and power of the Quilt, this morning we again renewed our vow to finally defeat the scourge of AIDS and bring hope and healing to all those affected.  Thanks to the tireless leadership of activists, survivors, scientists and the LGBTQ community, we will not relent until we banish HIV to the dustbin of history and achieve an AIDS-free generation.” ~ Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Importantly, this commemoration honors those we’ve lost, the survivors and the heroes who have been on the frontlines of finding a cure and aiding those in need.  

“The Quilt is a poignant and important reminder of why we must work with a sense of urgency to help end the epidemic. It will take the ongoing collaborative efforts of many groups working together, including activists, advocates, scientists and the LGBTQ+ community, to ensure that in another 40 years from now, the HIV epidemic is part of history. Gilead partners with allies like the National AIDS Memorial to remember those we’ve lost and raise greater awareness about the root causes driving the HIV epidemic, such as stigma, racism, homophobia and transphobia.” ~ Daniel O’Day, Chairman and CEO of Gilead Sciences.

Read our news release. See the Photo Album. Experience 40 Powerful Quilt Stories.


The National AIDS Memorial honored the more than 700,000 lives lost to AIDS, the survivors and the heroes during the past four decades. During a powerful ceremony, leaders of the AIDS movement provided touching tributes of activism, resiliences, hope and remembrance.

Special guests featured in the program:

National Leaders: Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Congresswoman Barbara Lee; Dr. Anthony Fauci, M.D., Director, NIAID

California State Leaders: Governor Gavin Newsom; State Senator Scott Wiener; Assemblymember David Chiu

San Francisco Leaders: Mayor London N. Breed; Supervisor Rafael Mandelman

Special Guests: Former U.S. Ambassador James Hormel; former UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman; National AIDS Memorial Grove Co-Founder, Alice Russell-Shapiro

Long-term Survivors: John Cunningham, Chief Executive Officer, National AIDS Memorial; AIDS Memorial Quilt Co-Founder Cleve Jones; Lonnie Payne, National AIDS Memorial Board Member; Tez Anderson, Executive Director, Let’s Kick ASS (AIDS Survivor Syndrome)

Young Leaders in Today’s Movement: A Spoken Word performance by Ima Diawara, Mary Bowman Arts in Activism Awardee and Antwan Matthews, Pedro Zamora Scholar and National AIDS Memorial Board Member

Leaders in Research and Care: Jared Baeten, Vice President, Gilead Sciences HIV Clinical Research; Michael Gifford, President & CEO, Vivent Health; Eric Johnson, Quest Diagnostics, Executive Director, West Region; Executives from national and regional AIDS Service Organizations, including Kevin Rogers, Interim CEO, San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Faith-Based Leaders: Marvin White, GLIDE Minister; Rev. Ernest Larkins, City of Refuge

Musical Performances: Members of Messengers of Hope Gospel Choir featuring Ja Ronn and Flow; the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

A day of public tributes and remembrance in the grove

On June 5th the National AIDS Memorial opened to the public to experience the thousands of names engraved in the Memorial Grove and view 40 Blocks of the AIDS Memorial Quilt on display, symbolic of 40 years since the first cases of AIDS were reported in the U.S. 

The power of the Quilt and the beauty of the Grove were together for this first-ever outdoor display where visitors read aloud thousands of names of loved ones lost to AIDS that were softly amplified in the Grove.

See Forty Powerful Quilt Stories

40 Years ~ 40 Stories

Read touching stories of hope, healing, resilience and remembrance through a collection of oral history films, podcasts, photos and personal narratives that shine a light on the heroes, activists, survivors and those we’ve lost during four decades of the AIDS epidemic.

Each story connects to the programs of the National AIDS Memorial -- the Grove, the Quilt, our programs and mission to always remember and to help ensure that future generations can learn from the lessons of the past to help shape a brighter future.

New stories are added regularly, reaching 40 in total this year. See the stories here.

in appreciation TO our partners AND COLLABORATORS


Gilead is an important and long-standing partner of the National AIDS Memorial.  Gilead’s leadership cannot be understated as last year the company provided a $2.4 million grant to fund moving the AIDS Memorial Quilt to San Francisco under the care and stewardship of the National AIDS Memorial.

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Quest Diagnostics is an important partner with the National AIDS Memorial, providing leadership around annual World AIDS Day observances and as a lead supporter of the memorial’s Community Volunteer Workday program. The sacred ground of the 10-acre, living memorial honors all who have confronted the tragic HIV/AIDS pandemic; those who have died, and those who have shared their struggle, kept the vigils and supported each other during their final hours.

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In 2020, Vivent Health announced a long-term partnership with the National AIDS Memorial as the Premier National Community Partner of the AIDS Memorial Quilt to support Quilt programs and educational activities, including displays of the Quilt in communities across the United States.

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For years, Team Chevron employees have volunteered countless hours to maintain the Memorial Grove, supported World AIDS Day events and inspired many through their Quilt making programs.

Chevron is a long-standing partner of the National AIDS Memorial, stepping up in so many ways to support our work, to help us share stories, to show its commitment in helping ensure that the lessons of the pandemic are forever captured in our hearts.

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Equality California brings the voices of LGBTQ+ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people.

With over 900,000 members, Equality California is the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization and we’re California’s only LGBTQ+ civil rights organization working at the local, state and national levels.

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San Francisco AIDS Foundation promotes health, wellness, and social justice for communities most impacted by HIV, through sexual health and substance use services, advocacy, and community partnerships.

We envision a future where health justice is achieved for all people living with or at risk for HIV. Ultimately, we strive for a day when: race is not a barrier to health and wellness; substance use is not stigmatized; HIV status does not determine quality of life; and HIV transmission is eliminated.

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Support our Programs

While you are here, we invite you to get involved by supporting the work of the National AIDS Memorial. DONATE NOW

The Beauty of the Grove and Power of the Quilt, Together

More than a thousand visitors came to the Memorial Grove to experience a 40-Block display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and see the names lost to AIDS engraved within the Memorial.

Highlights Video

See the entire ceremony

Photo Album

40 Powerful Quilt Stories

Hear the stories from Long-Term Survivors with a Special Message from Dr. Anthony Fauci

Governor Newsom

Watch a Message from California Governor Gavin Newsom

Proud to work with to raise greater awareness in communities across across the country.


40 years of stories from the pandemic – the lives lost, the heroes, the survivors - see the stories


Be part of the first-ever 50 state AIDS Quilt virtual exhibition and display. Learn more about host and sponsorship opportunities.


Honor a life by memorializing them within the beauty of the memorial in perpetuity - learn more

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By sharing the story of the struggle against HIV/AIDS, we remember, in perpetuity, the lives lost, we offer healing and hope to survivors, and we inspire new generations of activists in the fight against stigma, denial, and hate, for a just future.