Metro Weekly

World AIDS Day 2021: How to take part in DC and beyond!

HIV advocates and health organizations are hosting educational events, memorial vigils, and free testing opportunities this week.

World AIDS Day
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Each year on December 1, the World Health Organization, governments, health officials, and community advocates from around the globe recognize World AIDS Day, an event dedicated to raising awareness about the AIDS pandemic, engaging in public education and outreach campaigns focused on curbing the spread of HIV, and remembering those who lost their lives to the disease.

This year’s World AIDS Day — the 34th of its kind — takes place on Wednesday, with local and national organizations organizing public HIV testing, panel discussions, vigils, conferences, and other events to mark the occasion.

Some larger-scale events, particularly those at the national level, will continue to be held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, although more local events are being held in person as vaccination rates slowly climb. All times are in EST, unless noted.

Locally, NovaSalud, Inc., a service organization that primarily serves the Latino community in Northern Virginia, will host in-person HIV testing on Dec. 1 at its Falls Church headquarters (2946 Sleepy Hollow Rd., Suite 3C) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to its HIV services, Novasalud also offers confidential, culturally-competent, and linguistically-appropriate testing and education for Hepatitis C, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis. For more information, visit or call 703-533-1858.

Us Helping Us, People Into Living, an HIV service organization focused on LGBTQ and Black communities, will provide free HIV and STI testing in the pharmacy area of the Safeway located at 2845 Alabama Ave. SE, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The organization will also have a presence at the Solidarity for Health Equity Breakfast, a virtual webinar from 9 to 11 a.m., co-hosted by Montgomery County HIV/STI Services and the Montgomery County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., which will feature speakers on a variety of topics, including: racial disparities in women’s health; stigma surrounding the virus; the role of health equity in Montgomery County’s “Plan to End HIV” seeking to curb the spread of the virus by 2030; and how leaders outside of the HIV sector can contribute to ending the epidemic. To register for the event, visit

Later in the day, UHU will take part in “Reflection & Resilience: Montgomery County’s World AIDS Day Vigil and Open House,” an event the at Dennis Avenue Health Center, at 2000 Dennis Ave. in Silver Spring, from 5-7 p.m. To register, or for more information, visit

UHU will also have a presence at a World AIDS Day event co-hosted by the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs and SERVE DC, featuring storytelling and performances from prominent members of the D.C. community who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. The event will also feature tabling by local governmental and nonprofit organizations seeking to provide the public with information about treatments and resources related to HIV/AIDS, as well as on-site HIV testing for those who do not yet know their serostatus.

The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is “Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice.” A representative from Whitman-Walker Health’s Insurance Navigation team will be on hand to assist people and answer questions about open enrollment and getting insurance coverage through DC Health Link, the District’s online insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. The event will run from 5-8 p.m. at Hook Hall, at 3400 Georgia Ave. NW.

The Alexandria Commission on HIV/AIDS, in partnership with the Alexandria Department of Health, the Northern Virginia chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and NOVA NCNW, will host a virtual webinar at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1, focusing on the fight to end inequalities and provide support for marginalized and vulnerable communities as part of the larger fight against HIV/AIDS. For more information, or to register, visit this link.

In Prince George’s County, the Latin American Youth Center and Maryland Multicultural Youth Center’s HIV Program will host a celebration of World AIDS Day that doubles as an educational event on Friday, Dec. 3 from 6:30-8 p.m at 6200 Sheridan St. in Riverdale, Maryland. The event will commemorate the lives of those lost due to AIDS, feature a public forum on the importance of early intervention services in partnership with local organizations, and will offer educational resources and free HIV/STI testing. The event is free to attend, with musical performances and food being provided. Prince George’s County residents, as well as non-residents from the greater DMV region, are encouraged to attend. For more information, visit

World AIDS Day
Whitman-Walker’s Community Health team conducting outdoor HIV/STI testing – Photo courtesy of Whitman-Walker Health.

Whitman-Walker Health, the federally-qualified community health center specializing in LGBTQ-competent and HIV/AIDS care, will kick off its World AIDS Day celebrations by partnering with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., to offer free HIV testing and prevention education from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the CVS Pharmacy at 845 Bladensburg Rd. NE. 

Later that day, from 5-6 p.m., Dr. Kellan Baker, the executive director and chief learning officer at the Whitman-Walker Institute, will participate in a virtual panel discussion, hosted by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History as part of its exhibition “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World.” The panel will be moderated by Julio Capó Jr., an associate professor of history and deputy director of the Wolfsonian Public Humanities Lab at Florida International University, and will feature activists and representatives from organizations seeking to combat the stigma associated with HIV. Other panelists include: Dázon Dixon Diallo, the founder and president of SisterLove Inc., and Pastor William Francis, an ambassador for The Black Church and HIV, an initiative engaging faith-based communities to combat the spread of the virus. To register, visit this link.

At 7:30 p.m., as part of its Dec. 1 production of RENT, Signature Theatre has agreed to collect donations benefitting Whitman-Walker Health. Representatives from Whitman-Walker will be on hand at the theater. For more information, visit

From Dec. 1 through March 31, 2022, the public will be able to log online to view Whitman-Walker’s virtual display of the AIDS Quilt, featuring Whitman-Walker and D.C.-focused AIDS Quilt panels, as part of a collaboration with the National AIDS Memorial. For more information, visit

Lastly, on Dec. 2, the day following World AIDS Day, Whitman-Walker Health’s Community Health team will partner with Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School to provide HIV/STI testing and prevention education at their Harvard Street location from 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. in an effort to reach the school’s morning and evening student cohorts.

World AIDS Day
Panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt commemorating D.C. residents – Photo: National AIDS Memorial.


Nationally, the Human Rights Campaign will be holding a World AIDS Day Summit from 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m., with workshop sessions focusing on various issues, including HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative, HIV and sexual health education on college campuses, global perspectives on HIV/AIDS, stigma surrounding HIV and the epidemic’s impact on communities of color, and HIV activism and how it is integral to the ballroom community.

Special guest panelists include: Akua Agyame; Simran Shaikh; Diego Mora; Deondre Moore, the U.S. Partnerships & Community Engagement Manager at Prevention Access Campaign; P.J. Moton-Poole, senior manager of external affairs for North America at Viiv Healthcare; Ulysses Burley, founder of UBtheCure; Jennifer Balenciaga, Allyn Cooper; Duante Brown; and Brande Serrano. To register, or for more information on the summit, visit

The National AIDS Memorial will hold a number of events, beginning with the 30th Anniversary Light in the Grove Fundraising Gala, a private, ticketed event at the National AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, from 5-9 p.m. PST on Tuesday, Nov. 30. For more information, visit

However, the following day, the public is invited to attend a free Public Display of Lights and Reading of Names Ceremony at the Grove, which will run from 4:30-9 p.m. and will feature special light displays and musical performances, as well as a list of the names of loved ones lost to the virus. Visitors to the Grove can also visit the adjacent Music Concourse for a special poetry reading and light display from 4-7 p.m. For more information, click here.

World AIDS Day
National AIDS Memorial Grove – Photo: National AIDS Memorial.

On Dec. 1, from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. PST, the National AIDS Memorial will host a Virtual World AIDS Day Observance, accessible via Leaders from across the country will participate in a series of conversations surrounding HIV/AIDS, its impact on specific communities, and the role memorials can play in the healing process. Speakers throughout the day include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, White House National AIDS Policy Director Harold Phillips, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Admiral Rachel L. Levine, U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and Toni Newman, the CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, among others.

Of special note will be a conversation, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. PST, featuring Billy Porter, Steven Canals and Our Lady J to talk about how the award-winning television series Pose helped change hearts and minds as it relates to HIV/AIDS, stigma, discrimination, and social justice. The National AIDS Memorial will also honor Pose with its National Leadership Recognition Award.

NMAC, the national organization focusing on curbing the spread of HIV within communities of color and normalizing discussions of race and equity within the HIV movement, will honor U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge as the recipients of its 2021 Capitol Hill Champions Awards during a virtual ceremony at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 30. For more information, or to register, visit

Later in the week, NMAC will also host the 25th annual United States Conference on HIV/AIDS virtually from Thursday, Dec. 2 to Friday, Dec. 3, with the opening plenary kicking off at 12 p.m. on Dec. 2. The two-day event features various workshops and panel discussions, as well as plenaries, featuring various HIV activists, advocates, doctors and caregivers, educators, and others. Special guests include: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Assistant Secretary of Health Admiral Dr. Rachel Levine; and Director of Office of National AIDS Policy Harold Phillips.

See also:

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