2020 marks 40 years since the first cases of AIDS were reported in the United States, a pandemic that has led to nearly 700,000 lives lost and still no cure four decades later.  This year, our nation struggles through another pandemic -- the fight against Covid-19 – the horrific loss of life has surpassed 220,000 in a matter of months

World AIDS Day 2020 – A National Conversation on December 1 from 10 am to 12 pm PST will bring together powerful voices from both pandemics for an important conversation about health justice, social activism, remembrance, hope and resilience.  

The event will spotlight the interconnectedness of both pandemics -- the lives lost, the survivors, the activism, the heroes. Through a distinguished list of guest speakers, panelists, video storytelling, and musical tributes, important insights will be shared to help answer the questions about how a nation responds, how it heals, and what lessons must be learned to prepare
for the future.

The forum will be presented virtually and will be free to the public.

Keynote Speakers and Recipients of 2020 National Leadership Recognition Award

Through a distinguished list of guest speakers, video storytelling, and musical tributes, the forum allows people to come together and honor the lives lost, the survivors, the activism and the heroes from over the span of four decades and two horrific pandemics. See the list of announced speakers here.


Award-winning actor and long-time AIDS advocate, Judith Light, will host the event.

The Reverend Naomi Washington-Leapheart, Director for Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs for the City of Philadelphia will provide the invocation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
will offer a message of hope and honor civil rights activist Congressman John Lewis, a powerful leader for activism and social justice, who passed away earlier this year.

John Cunningham, Executive Director of the National AIDS Memorial, will provide welcoming remarks and present the National Leadership Recognition Award.

Medical and Scientific Leadership

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci
, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. David D. Ho, Director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Columbia University are the keynote speakers and will be honored with the memorial’s National Leadership Recognition Award. As leading health experts on the front lines of medical and scientific advancements during two global pandemics, they will discuss the health, research and long term impacts of HIV/AIDS and Covid-19. ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, will moderate the conversation.

Impact on Marginalized Communities

Mayors from cities that have been on the frontlines of both pandemics – Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio -- will lead a conversation on the impact the two pandemics have had on marginalized communities and how HIV/AIDS and Covid-19 have disproportionately affected communities of color and the systemic barriers that compound poor health outcomes. ABC News Co-Anchor of GMA3, T.J. Holmes, will moderate the discussion.  

Activism that Sparks Change and Movements

Activists whose actions have made a difference during both pandemics – Alicia Garza, Principal at Black Futures Lab and Co-Founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, Cleve Jones, Co-Founder of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and Kristin Urquiza, Co-Founder of Marked by COVID -- will lead a discussion about the ongoing struggle for social justice. Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David will moderate the discussion.

A Look to the Future
Surviving voices from the AIDS pandemic come together to offer heartfelt words on how a nation responds, heals, and remembers those lost to both pandemics.

Additional Special Guests and Features include:

Daniel O’Day
, Chairman and CEO, Gilead Sciences, Inc.
Michael J. Gifford
, President and CEO, Vivent Health
Special performances from the National AIDS Memorial Virtual Choir and songwriter Alida McKeon

A Live Virtual Forum December 1, 2020
10 AM - 12 Noon PST

SAVE THE DATE! An inspiring forum and discussion about health justice, social activism, remembrance, and hope.

Keep informed on World AIDS Day 2020
AIDS Quilt Virtual Exhibition

Be part of the first-ever 50 state virtual display. Let the power and beauty of the Quilt help our nation heal during these difficult times. Experience the exhibition.

Giving Tuesday

Make your voice heard on Giving Tuesday! Support the Programs of the National AIDS Memorial! Can't wait? Make a gift now

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so that never again will a community be harmed because of fear, silence, discrimination, or stigma.