World AIDS Day Observance to Be Held At Plaza Convention Center

Individuals Will Be Honored for Their Contributions in the Field of HIV and AIDS

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 26, 2010) – New York State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., will mark this year's observance of World AIDS Day by honoring New Yorkers for their significant contributions in the field of HIV and AIDS in a ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 30, at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.

More than 187,000 New Yorkers have been diagnosed with AIDS and more than 125,000 individuals are currently living with HIV/AIDS in New York State. "Think Positive, Stay Negative" (Think + Stay –) is the Department of Health's (DOH) 2010 World AIDS Day theme, reflecting the goal of testing for HIV/AIDS with negative results.

Panels from the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display Monday through Wednesday in the Convention Center as a tribute to the memory of those who have lost their lives to HIV and AIDS. The Quilt is a poignant memorial and a powerful tool for use in preventing new HIV infections.

The schedule of events, all at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany, is:

Monday, November 29

  • Opening ceremony, 9-9:30 a.m. The ceremony will begin with the lighting of a blue candle to symbolize the hope that someday the AIDS pandemic will end. The AIDS Memorial Quilt will be unfolded. Members of the community and staff of DOH's AIDS Institute will deliver a brief welcome.
  • Educational sessions, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. The AIDS Memorial Quilt will be viewed by school groups from across New York State

Tuesday, November 30

  • School group sessions, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Distinguished Service Awards ceremony, 2 p.m. Commissioner Daines will present awards to individuals who have made significant contributions to those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

Wednesday, December 1

  • School group sessions, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Closing ceremony, 3-4 p.m. The DOH AIDS Institute and the NAMES Project will deliver closing remarks, and family members and friends will dedicate new Quilt panels representing the stories and memories of their loved ones. This dedication provides a time for remembrance and healing. The 2010 AIDS Memorial Quilt display will close at 4 p.m.


Mohonasen High School Students, under the leadership of teacher Dennae Hughes, have participated in the annual AIDS Walk in Albany's Washington Park over the last five years. This year, 40 students walked and raised money for the AIDS Walk and a local 5K race. Mohonasen students are recognized for reaching out to family, friends and the community for donations and support of people living with HIV/AIDS. Awardees include Mike Badger, Anne Chelkowski, Nicole Chelkowski, Rachel Claus, Mallory Collier, Heather Dadd, Frank Emmi, Josh Giardano, Adriana Kosakowski, Rachel Kronsburg, Amber McCarthy, Jaimie Mucci, Keyla Richardson, Antonia Piccirillo, Jake Ritz, Amber Roberts, Kiara Rogers, Cody Russell, Tyler Ronan, Brit Sawitzki, Garrett Sisson, Meg Turck, Tori Savona, Jaha Waymer-Jarvis, Alexis Willey, Morgan Willey, Emily Wilgocki, Conor Hughes, Autumn Wallace, Meg D'Ambrosio, Morgan Miller

Jana Jackson has been the voice of young people at the Long Island Regional Committee's Faith Communities Project for almost a decade. She has participated in all youth-related events and has been the youth voice on several youth/clergy panels, encouraging faith leaders to address HIV prevention issues in their communities, especially with young people. Ms. Jackson also educates her peers at Amityville High School. She is an asset to the Long Island Regional Committee and a positive role model for her peers.

Alba Bonilla, a Leadership Training Institute HIV Education and Prevention Training graduate, has demonstrated a level of commitment to HIV/AIDS awareness and education that exceeds the sense of community well-being that many adults have today. Ms. Bonilla was recruited and selected to become a youth peer educator in an "after-school" environment because she expressed interest, enthusiasm and dedication to the cause. Ms. Bonilla, in many ways, has brought awareness and education of HIV/AIDS both within her school and her community within Long Island.

Donna Futterman, M.D., is the winner of the AIDS Institute's Dr. Linda Laubenstein Annual HIV Clinical Excellence Award, which was established in 1992. The award honors physicians who, besides providing the highest quality of clinical care for people with HIV/AIDS, are also distinguished by their compassion and wholehearted involvement in the effort to achieve comprehensive care for persons with HIV/AIDS. Dr. Futterman, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Director of the Adolescent AIDS Program and an Associate Attending Physician in the Department of Pediatrics at Montefiore Medical Center, has made many contributions to the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS, including her involvement in the mothers-to-mothers-to-be program, a mentorship program for HIV-infected pregnant women based in Cape Town, South Africa.

As a result of her leadership, compassion and dedication, Dr. Futterman is recognized among her colleagues for her tireless work within the Adolescent AIDS Program, serving adolescents and their families infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. In the 1990s, POZ Magazine named her one of the 50 Most Innovative U.S. AIDS Researchers.

Special recognition will be given to Dr. Keith Krasinski (posthumous), Associate Professor of Pediatrics, New York University Medical Center Department of Pediatrics and longtime member of the New York State AIDS Advisory Council; and Dr. Edwin A. Mirand, Vice President, Educational Affairs and Dean of Roswell Park Graduate Division of SUNY Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and one of the founding members of the New York State AIDS Advisory Council.

The following peer educators and leaders are being recognized for their leadership among their peers and their dedication to making a difference in the struggle to overcome HIV/AIDS:

  • Young Adult Consumer Advisory Committee Members (YACAC), a statewide group sponsored by the DOH AIDS Institute: Julian Brown, Jonathan "Jaszi" Alejandro, Tree Alexander, Corrii Booker, Denroy Ford, Tyrell Gorton, Raven Lopez, Max Monaghan, Dorian Paat, Eric Patel, Tony Ray, Sparkle Reid, Angel Rivas, Leanna Thornton
  • Equinox Inc., Albany: Elite Tyrell and Rachel Mergel
  • PEP (Peers Educating Peers) Teens, Troy: Aaron Fuller, Sheldon Silas, Tayla Silas, Zaida Williams
  • Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood S.T.A.R.S.: Adnan Azad, Logan Bonenfant, Tiffani Bonenfant, Krishona Brown, Brihan Ford, Darian Henry, Amber Markham, Giovanna Markham, Zaraya Merritt, Travis Overby, Ty-Kwan Perry, Isabel Rothstein, Dylan Soares-Kern, Azhane Stanford-Cummings, Shamar Tillman, Shanikwa Tomlinson, Lester Zaborski III