To mark World AIDS Day, nonprofit Quilt Project Gold Coast displayed quilts outside Ventura City Hall Tuesday afternoon commemorating local residents who have died of AIDS-related illnesses.
That was followed by a sunset candlelight vigil.
Attendees at both events practiced social distancing and wore masks, measures designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Tuesday was proclaimed World AIDS Day in Ventura by the City Council at its Nov. 23 meeting.
“We are hoping not only to remember our friends and family members lost to the (AIDS) disease, but we hope everyone takes a moment to remember that HIV and AIDS are still with us and people are still getting infected in the Gold Coast,” said Neil Coffman-Grey, the events’ organizer who sits on Quilt Project Gold Coast’s board of directors.
HIV is a virus that can lead to the development of potentially life-threatening AIDS, which severely damages a person’s immune system.
“We hope during the holiday season you play safe and stay safe,” added Coffman-Grey, who was diagnosed with AIDS in 2003.
Quilt Project Gold Coast was founded in early 2018 in response to an increase in HIV/AIDS infections in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and makes AIDS memorial quilt panels, says the nonprofit’s website, quiltprojectgoldcoast.org.
Since 1988, Dec. 1 has been designated World AIDS Day, giving people around the globe an opportunity to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses, according to worldaidsday.org.
HIV treatment involves taking medicine, called antiretroviral therapy, that reduces the amount of HIV in a person’s body, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.