GREENWICH VILLAGE, Manhattan – On the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, supporters gathered at AIDS Memorial Park in Greenwich Village to honor the more than 100,000 New Yorkers who have died from the virus.
Members of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis held a candlelight vigil for their 27 annual 'out of the darkness' ceremony, taking a moment to read the names of some of those who lost their battle to the virus.
The NYPD Color Guard helped lead a procession from the memorial to St. John’s Lutheran Church.
Connor Chadwick took a moment to reflect, saying “I think this day should be used as a reference point to continue the education because the fight doesn’t stop just because pills and medication have come so far."
“We care for not just the people who have died but for the people who are going to be dealing with this," said Aaliyah Love, who believes in educating the future generation.
“Health is the greatest wealth of all and being aware and knowing this disease, there is no cure," survivor Maurice White said.
According to World Health Organization estimates, more than 30 percent of new HIV infections occur in people between 15 and 25 years old. Combined with the increasing number of babies infected at birth, some 5 million young people now live with HIV.
“I’m lucky, I’m blessed. I’m still here 27 years," Robert Crosso, who is also celebrating his life, said. "Thank God for the meds, the support, the organizations.”