Santa Clara County Commemorates 35th Annual World AIDS Day

Events honor lives lost and demonstrate how communities are leading

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. – The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department, the City of San José, and local partner organizations and commissions join others from around the world to commemorate the 35th annual World AIDS Day, with events November 28 to December 1. This year’s theme, designated by UNAIDS as “Let Communities Lead,” recognizes the influential role people living with, at risk of, or affected by HIV play in the fight to end AIDS.

Events for World AIDS Day in Santa Clara County are open to the public, as the community shows support for people living with HIV and AIDS and honors those who lost their lives. Globally, more than 36 million people have died from an AIDS-related illness.

There are 3,770 people living with HIV in Santa Clara County as of 2022, the most recent data available. Like many other diseases and health conditions, HIV data show racial inequities. Hispanic and Latino populations accounted for 60 percent of new HIV diagnoses in 2022, despite being just 25 percent of the county’s population.

“World AIDS Day is important but also bittersweet for me. For years I could not allow myself to be involved in WAD as it was too painful for me to keep reliving the memories of losing so many friends and loved ones to this horrible disease. They were literally dropping like flies. Today, with the different hats that I wear, both as a nurse with a specialty in HIV/AIDS and my involvement with the HIV Commission, I feel blessed to be doing this work that is so personal to me. It is amazing the advances we have made over the years in the treatment options for HIV and that it has become very easily controllable now, and no one has to die from this disease anymore! The HIV Commission is always looking for Community members to help lead the continuing fight for everything HIV,” said Gordon Bowman, Chair of the Santa Clara County HIV Commission.

HIV and Aging
Each year brings new progress helping people navigate life with HIV. With community support, the Santa Clara County Getting to Zero initiative, a collaboration of County leaders and local partners, launched the HIV and Aging Program. This program addresses care gaps for people living with HIV over the age of 50 in Santa Clara County. More than half of people in the county living with HIV are 50 years of age and older. People enrolled receive assistance accessing medical and non-medical services like STI testing, peer-to-peer support groups, and benefits navigation.

“These programs are a direct result of the feedback from the community, as we collectively identify ways people can live longer and healthier lives with HIV and AIDS,” said Dr. Akanksha Vaidya, Assistant Health Officer and HIV/STI Controller at County of Santa Clara Public Health Department. “The growing population of older adults living with HIV and AIDS is a testament to the improved medication and services available, which increase life expectancy.”

“The Billy DeFrank Center is especially honored to have the AIDS Quilt and Candlelight Vigil at the Center this year because we now have a new group, POZitive Living, of long-term thriving survivors of HIV and their friends. World AIDS Day is a way to honor and remember those we lost to AIDS, acknowledge our long-term thrivers, and to keep the history of the epidemic alive to educate today’s and future generations.,” said Gabrielle Antolovich, Board President at Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center.

“People living with HIV can live healthy, fulfilling lives with treatment and support. This and every #WorldAIDSDay, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte & fellow community partners reaffirm our commitment to protect and expand HIV/AIDS health care and education as part of sexual health and reproductive rights programs. PPMM calls on us to unite in the fight to end health inequities – including the HIV epidemic – here and around the globe,” said Stacy Cross, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte.

Get Involved
While World AIDS Day is commemorated across a single week, there is no break in the fight to end HIV.  Join one of the following collaborations between local agencies and members of the community, advocating for progress in Santa Clara County. 

Santa Clara County World AIDS Day Events:
Find more information about all events at

City of San José Proclamation
Tuesday, November 28, 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
200 E Santa Clara St, San José, CA 95113

AIDS Commemorative Grove 
Friday, December 1, 10 - 11 a.m.
Guadalupe River Park
180 Woz Way, San José, CA 95110

AIDS Memorial Quilt Viewing
Friday, December 1, 12 - 8 p.m.
Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center
938 The Alameda, San José, CA 95126

Santa Clara County Flag Raising and Proclamation
Friday, December 1, 12:30 - 2 p.m.
James P McEntee Sr. Plaza
70 W Hedding St, San José, CA 95110

Let Communities Lead Speakers Panel
Friday, December 1, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
200 E Santa Clara St, San José, CA 95113

City of San José Flag Raising
Friday, December 1, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
200 E Santa Clara St, San José, CA 95113

City of San José Candlelight Vigil
Friday, December 1, 6 - 8 p.m.
Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center
938 The Alameda, San José, CA 95126


News Release


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