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World AIDS Day 2023 – 35 Years of Remembrance and Hope

By Lawrence Pfeil, Jr.

“World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV; show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.”

– World Health Organization

When the WHO declared the first World AIDS Day in 1988, an AIDS patient’s average life expectancy was between 6 and 19 months; though because of the “retro” nature of the virus, some long-term survivors miraculously still exist.  Today thanks to the development and ongoing improvement of retroviral medications, HIV/AIDS has become manageable as a chronic disease, and those infected are expected to live a full life.


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But 35 years later, World AIDS Day isn’t important enough to get the attention of mainstream media.  It’s largely ignored even by our own LGBTQ media. The argument is, HIV/AIDS is not a “serious” problem, but the facts* are…

  • An estimated 40.4 million people globally have died from AIDS
  • There are approximately 39 million people across the globe with HIV.
  • Of these, 37.5 million are adults and 1.5 million are children
  • An estimated 1.3 million individuals worldwide were newly infected in 2022.
  • There is still no cure or vaccine.


What they’re really saying is HIV/AIDS isn’t killing enough people anymore; it’s not the “disease of the month;” and/or it won’t get enough “clicks” for their advertisers. Here are the results of those attitudes and stories not getting told.

Current retroviral medications that are allowing people like me to live healthy full lives and PrEP which is helping prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS are lifesaving, but only if you have access to them.  Many people in our Community, especially people of color, don’t have the same access to treatment let alone afford the medication’s $1800+/month price tag.  People are still dying from AIDS.

Previous post:  “World AIDS Day 2022, The Art of Remembrance” 

Fortunately, there are organizations still fighting to help people living with HIV/AIDS lead better more full lives and are redoubling their efforts to end this disease once and for all.

Streaming now through December 3rd, is commemorating World AIDS Day with the fourth annual Remember the Ribbon: A Tribute to World AIDS Day, streaming on Playbill December 1-3. The event was filmed at Sony Hall November 13, and given as a fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

The stream is free and donations will be accepted for BC/EFA.  Every dollar donated will help those across the country affected by HIV/AIDS and other critical illnesses receive healthy meals, lifesaving medication, emergency financial assistance, housing, counseling and more.  Donations also support and champion organizations focused on social justice and anti-racism.

Willam Belli  photo by Valerie Terranova via
Watch Remember The Ribbon via Playbill at


As previously reported, last June Sir Elton John and the Elton John AIDS Foundation announced, “the launch of The Rocket Fund, a campaign to turbocharge global efforts to overcome stigma and inequity and end AIDS for all by 2030.”

“Elton John Launches The Rocket Fund to End AIDS For All” 


Today they announced that all donations will be triple matched.

When you make a generous gift in honor of World AIDS Day your donation will go three times as far thanks to generous supporter Edward Finger. Can we count on your support?

 Sir Elton also released this video.


Click below and donate today and have it triple matched!

Together we can create a future without AIDS.


(Courtesy of Keith Haring Foundation)

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