World AIDS Day Observances

World AIDS Day is a reminder that nearly four decades into the epidemic, more than 70 million people around the world have been infected with the HIV virus, with 35 million people having died from HIV- and AIDS-related causes. While much progress has been made in preventing and treating HIV, today 36 million people are currently living with the virus. New advancements in diagnostics, treatments and medicine are helping nearly 20 million people live healthy with the disease. In the United States, 1.1 million people are currently living with HIV.

Each year on November 30 and December 1 the National AIDS Memorial hosts World AIDS Day events that bring together more than 1,500 people in the heart of the Memorial Grove to remember lost lives to AIDS and to honor the vast voices of the epidemic who represent profound courage, unrelenting hope and unity of humankind. 

On the eve of World AIDS Day, the National AIDS Memorial is artistically-illuminated with brilliant light displays as part of the annual Light in the Grove gala. Guests experience a candlelight reflection at the Circle of Friends and experience the illuminated Redwood Grove with musical choreographed performances. The Lifetime of Commitment award is presented to an honoree each year at Light in the Grove.


During World AIDS Day, hundreds join together to remember lost loved ones and to celebrate their lives.  Each year, leaders are honored with the presenting of the National Leadership Recognition Award and The Thom Weyand Unsung Hero Award.  Attendees also gather in the Circle of Friends as names are read of newly engraved names in the memorial.


See photos from 2019 World AIDS Day and Light in the Grove events

"The global HIV/AIDS epidemic is an unprecedented crisis that requires an unprecedented response. In particular it requires solidarity - between the healthy and the sick, between rich and poor, and above all, between richer and poorer nations. We have 30 million orphans already. How many more do we have to get, to wake up?"

       — Kofi Annan

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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.

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