Giant AIDS Ribbon on the 30th Year of Disease

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.

Meanwhile, more than 100,000 black women were tested for HIV in 2010 through an initiative created by the Florida Department of Health. Sistas Organizing to Survive (SOS) is the grassroots mobilization of black women in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and is stated to be the first of its kind in the nation. (Read: 100,000 Black Women Tested for HIV in 2010)

Earlier, more than 50 AIDS activists from the groups Housing Works, AIDS Action in Mississippi (AAIM) and AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) interrupted a speech by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius with a protest to decry the Obama administration’s dismal record on AIDS. (Read: Don’t Let Us Down! Don’t Let Us Die!)

As part of its ongoing advocacy efforts to spur President Obama and the Administration to do more on AIDS, the AHF rolled out an ad headlined “President Obama, The War on AIDS Has Not Been Won.” It compared the amount of U.S. dollars spent fighting the global AIDS epidemic vs. the amount spent on the war in Afghanistan. (Read: Obama, The War on AIDS Has Not Been Won)

“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.”

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.

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.

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Rakesh Raman