Media Advisory: Events December 1-4 for World AIDS Day 2008

ALBANY. N.Y. (Nov. 28, 2008) – The New York State Health Department invites the media and public to participate in World AIDS Day activities December 1 – 4 at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, 176,000 New Yorkers have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and currently an estimated 116,000 are living with HIV/AIDS.

This year the Health Department is also observing the 25th anniversary of the AIDS Institute, the division within the department that focuses on HIV/AIDS, and the AIDS Advisory Council, which advises the department and commissioner of health on HIV/AIDS matters.

The following events will be held in observance of World AIDS Day:

Monday, Dec. 1

  • Opening ceremony from 9:30-10:30 a.m. in the Convention Center will include the lighting of the blue candle to symbolize the hope that that the AIDS pandemic will end. Guthrie S. Birkhead, M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Commissioner, Office of Public Health, will deliver a brief welcoming address. The AIDS Memorial Quilt will be unfolded, and all the names in this year's display will be read aloud.
  • School groups will attend sessions from 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. in Meeting Rooms 1-7. Children will view the quilt.

Tuesday, Dec. 2

  • School group sessions will be held from 9 a.m.-noon in Meeting Rooms 1-7.
  • From 1-3 p.m., Distinguished Service Awards will be presented in the Convention Center to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions serving those affected by HIV/AIDS.

Wednesday, Dec. 3

  • School group sessions will be held from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Meeting Rooms 1-7.

Thursday, Dec. 4

  • School group sessions will be held from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Meeting Rooms 1-7.
  • Closing Ceremony will be held in the Convention Center from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. Dan O'Connell, Deputy Director of HIV Prevention and Program Evaluation, New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute, and Valerie White, Deputy Director of Administration and Data Systems, New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute, will deliver the closing remarks. Cindy Jennings, Vice President of the NAMES Project, New York Capital Region Chapter Board of Directors, will also deliver closing remarks.
  • Family members and friends of those who lost their lives to AIDS will dedicate new quilt panels representing the stories and memories of their loved ones. This dedication will provide a time for remembrance and healing.