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World AIDS Day events set for Los Angeles County


LOS ANGELES, Calif.–Free HIV testing will be offered and panel discussions will be held in Los Angeles County in connection with Saturday’s 25th observance of World AIDS Day, whose theme is “Working Together for an AIDS-Free Generation.”

Free HIV testing will be offered noon-6 p.m. at L.A. Live, 3-5 p.m. at the AIDS Monument in Lincoln Park in Lincoln Heights and 7-11 p.m. at the Sweet Dreams Dessert Lounge in Whittier.

A community forum organized by the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services called  “Getting to Zero” will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Miller Family Health Education Center. It will include a panel discussion from medical experts and a panel of community members.

More than 3,000 people have died from AIDS in Long Beach since the virus was first detected in 1981, according to Dr. Mitchell Kushner, the city’s health officer.

“World AIDS Day is an excellent opportunity to evaluate where we are at with the HIV/AIDS epidemic locally and to see how we can continue to work together to reverse the continuing trend of new infections throughout the region and around the world,” Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster said.

Prominent medical researchers and public health officials will participate in a panel discussion on the latest advances in the fight against AIDS from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena.

The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Michael Gottlieb, an associate clinical professor of medicine at UCLA who is credited with first identifying the disease now known as AIDS.

Gottlieb will join Dr. Mark Katz in participating in a discussion titled “AIDS at 31:  Looking Back/Looking Forward” held from 4 to 6 p.m. at the West Hollywood Library.

The 19th annual Noches de Las Memorias will be held at 5-7 p.m. at the AIDS Monument in Lincoln Park in Lincoln Heights, honoring Albergue Las Memorias, a Tijuana AIDS hospice. Donations will be collected on behalf of the hospice. Suggested donations include non-perishable food, toiletry and medical supplies.

A free concert will be held at 6 p.m. at the Hollywood Lutheran Church featuring Tommy Dodson, Larry Davis, Steve Beckham and the Hollywood Master Chorale. A reception will follow which will include presentations from state and local elected officials, free HIV testing and opportunities to add names to an AIDS quilt panel.

In his World AIDS Day proclamation, President Barack Obama declared, “Creating an AIDS-free generation is a shared responsibility. It requires commitment from partner countries, coupled with support from donors, civil society, people living with HIV, faith-based organizations, the private sector, foundations and multilateral institutions.

“We stand at a  tipping point in the fight against HIV/AIDS and working together we can realize our historic opportunity to bring that fight to an end.”