San Francisco, May 23 - For the first time ever, a massive red ribbon appears on the side of Twin Peaks to mark the 30th anniversary of the first reported cases of AIDS in the United States. Organized by San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the ribbon was installed by more than 100 community volunteers to honor San Francisco's legacy in fighting HIV/AIDS and to raise awareness of the importance of knowing your HIV status and getting proper care.
"This ribbon is a bold reminder to the entire world that HIV/AIDS is still an issue that urgently needs our attention," said San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO Neil Giuliano. "We have made tremendous progress in the fight against the disease over the past 30 years, but our work is not done. We believe even one new infection is one too many, and we will continue to give people the information and services they need to remain healthy and take care of the people they love."
Every day in San Francisco, two more people are newly infected with HIV. More than 56,000 people are infected every year nationwide. Alarmingly, rates of new HIV infections are rising among gay and bisexual men nationwide, the only risk group for which this is the case. San Francisco AIDS Foundation conceived the red ribbon to reinforce its commitment to improving the health of the community through increased HIV testing and prevention efforts, and vital services that ensure HIV-positive people can access treatment and receive high-quality care.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first cases of the virus that would be known as AIDS on June 5, 1981. San Francisco was the first city in the country to experience epidemic levels of the disease. Today there are close to 16,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco.
"San Francisco has always been a pioneer when it comes to HIV/AIDS," said San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener. "From the early days of the disease, the city responded with courage to save lives and change the course of the epidemic. Today the ribbon on Twin Peaks is an extension of that legacy and sends an important message that San Francisco will always be a leader in the fight against HIV."
"I am so proud to be part of this historic effort to raise awareness," said volunteer Mike Shaw, who helped to install the ribbon. "This ribbon is a reminder that in San Francisco we take care of everyone in our community. We have always been a compassionate city, and that will never change."
The ribbon is made out of 25 tarps. It is 225 feet long and 165 feet wide, and is visible from points across San Francisco and the Bay Area. It is scheduled to remain on Twin Peaks until June 19th.
About San Francisco AIDS Foundation
San Francisco AIDS Foundation works to end the HIV epidemic in the city where it began, and eventually everywhere. Established in 1982, our mission is the radical reduction of new infections in San Francisco because we refuse to accept HIV as inevitable. Through education, advocacy and direct services for prevention and care, we are confronting HIV in communities most vulnerable to the disease.
"Reproduced with permission - San Francisco AIDS Foundation"
San Francisco AIDS Foundation