What is World AIDS Day?

World AIDS Day is an international day dedicated to raising awareness about the AIDS pandemic. Every year on December 1st, the world gathers to remember the stories of those lost, educate others about its impact, and rally to eliminate the devastating stigma associated with the disease.

Why is World AIDS Day Important?

By sharing the tragic story of AIDS, we make strides towards ensuring that future communities will not be harmed by fear, silence, discrimination, or stigma.

Each year, our community hosts a national observance in the National AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. We bring leaders together from across the country for a national conversation to shine a light on the ongoing struggle to end the epidemic, progress made, and hope for the future.

How is the National AIDS Memorial Recognizing World AIDS Day in 2023?

On December 1st, our community returned to the Grove for a program featuring powerful stories, expert perspectives, and insightful discussions about relevant topics in our community.

Insights from Greg Louganis

Greg Louganis won two gold medals as an Olympic diver in 1984 and 1988. But he is celebrated for more than just his impressive athletic accomplishments. His resilience and dedication to activism is an inspiration to many, and we are honored that he shared his inspiring journey of living with HIV at our World AIDS Day recognition. 

Panel on Bodily Autonomy

Bodily autonomy is a fundamental human right that lies at the core of personal freedom, choice, and self-determination. Throughout this session, we delved into the complexities of bodily autonomy, its intersections with various aspects of life, and the pressing issues and challenges surrounding this essential concept.

Moderator: Imani Rupert-Gordon

Imani Rupert-Gordon is the executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco, California. The NCLR is a non-profit, public interest law firm in the United States that advocates for equitable public policies affecting the LGBTQ+ Community.

Panelist: Aria Sa’id ~ Co-founder SF Transgender Cultural District

Aria Sa’id is a celebrated social change advocate and award-winning political strategist. A noted body positivity and transgender advocate, she is perhaps most known for her work as a Co-Founder of the world’s first transgender cultural district, The Transgender District.

Panelist: Asmara Gebre

Asmara Gebre is a practicing midwife at San Francisco General Hospital and has developed several programs focused on Black Communities access to Midwifery Led Care. She is the co-director of the Black Midwifery Fellowship in CA, a comprehensive full scope midwifery fellowship with a focus on Abortion Training, didactic education, and community collaborations.

Panelist: Lashanda Salinas

Lashanda Salinas was first diagnosed with HIV at 16. In 2006, she was unjustly imprisoned and charged with a crime for living with HIV, forcing her to register as a sex offender. Today, she is an active member of the Tennessee HIV Modernization Coalition, a Health Not Prisons advocate, and a member of The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation Council of Justice Leaders.

Spiritual Performance with Danza Azteca

Danza Azteca is a living, evolving, cultural tradition using the artistic, spiritual, and traditions of the pre-Colombian Aztecs. It's an all encompassing way of life, and is a form of ancestor worship, and as a way of communicating with the future.

Meet our MC: Karl Schmid

Karl Schmid has worked worldwide covering entertainment, hosting shows, and covering live events for TLC, LOGO, ABC, ABC Digital Networks, KABC.

“I kept my diagnosis secret for 10 long years because people I trusted told me that revealing my status would ruin my career.” Karl was then inspired by the strength of others living with HIV to share his story. “I typed a simple facebook post telling the world that I was HIV+. I was amazed at the overwhelming support I immediately received both online and in the real world.”

Karl’s experience made him realize that too many people lived in fear and shame. Karl became an activist – traveling the world to spread the word about fighting HIV stigma. He will continue that incredible work as the MC of our World AIDS Day Observance on December 1st, 2023.

A Message from our Partner, San Francisco AIDS Foundation

A message from our Partner, Chevron


Your donations help us to share the story of the struggle against HIV/AIDS so that we remember the lives lost, offer healing and hope to survivors, and inspire new generations.


Light in the Grove returns on the evening of November 30, as a tented, indoor magical celebration of Reunion, Remembrance, and Renewal in the National AIDS Memorial Grove.


Join us in reimagining the fight to end HIV and AIDS in the South as we bring the AIDS Memorial Quilt and powerful events & programming to twelve Southern states most impacted today. Learn more!

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Our work helps ensure that the lives of people who died from AIDS are not forgotten and the story of AIDS is known by future generations -
so that never again will a community be harmed because of fear, silence, discrimination, or stigma.