On December 1, hundreds of HIV/AIDS activists, politicians and community health leaders joined together at Harlem’s world-famous Apollo Theater to celebrate the beginning of the end of AIDS in New York State--and to commemorate the more than 150,000 HIV-positive New Yorkers lost to the epidemic since its start in the early 1980s.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as several members of the New York City Council and the state assembly paid their respects at the morning’s ceremony, and officially re-committed their efforts to support and promote New York State’s official Blueprint to End AIDS by 2020.

2015 World AIDS Day Awards were also presented to Housing Works CEO Charles King, Harlem United’s Kimberleigh Joy Smith, CK Life’s Mister Cris, and Zil Garner Goldstein, a family nurse practitioner at Mount Sinai-Beth Israel hospital.

For more about the event, check out our photos below, and remember to share the hashtags #WorldAIDSDay2015 #EndAIDSNY2020 #BeHIVSure and #Vision2Reality to help raise awareness, fight stigma and remember those lost to and living with HIV/AIDS.

wad2015_intro.jpeg“From Vision to Reality” was the theme at the Apollo’s World AIDS Day 2015 ceremony, a callout to New York State’s plan to end the epidemic by 2020.

wad2015_1.JPGGovernor Andrew Cuomo said the state will dedicate another $200 million toward ending the epidemic, calling for the former AIDS “epicenter” to lead efforts to end the disease.
wad2015_2.JPGReality TV star Carmen Carrera opened up about how her own family has been affected by HIV/AIDS, and introduced the NYC Department of Health’s new sex-positive HIV-prevention campaign, #PlaySure.

wad2015_3.JPGNew York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also committed an additional $23 million toward combatting HIV/AIDS in the five boroughs by the end of 2020, and called on the state to provide more funding.
 wad2015_4.JPGLong-term survivors from ACT UP, ACRIA and the 2015 POZ 100 took the stage to remember the early days of the epidemic, and those lost to HIV/AIDS over the past three decades.


The ceremony ended with a stunning dance performance by members of the Kiki Coalition, a ballroom group of LGBTQ youth of color working to fight HIV/AIDS in their own communities.