Local Activists remember those living with and lost to the HIV epidemic on December 1st, World AIDS Day.

Today, Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day. The day is meant for people to unite in the fight against HIV to support those living with and affected by HIV and to remember those who have passed away from illnesses related to HIV. Locally rallies, prayer services and personal memorials have happened to observe the day. 

VOCAL-KY , an organization made up of low-income people using collective power to fight for the end of the AIDS epidemic, the war on drugs, mass incarceration, and homelessness, gathered on the steps of the Hall of Justice this morning at 10 a.m. to make some very specific requests on behalf of the more than 9,000 Kentuckians living with HIV.

The requests of the group were: 

This World AIDS Day, VOCAL-KY will demand the following:

  • Ensure unhoused and unstably housed Kentuckians with HIV have equal access to the vital housing supports necessary to benefit from antiretrovirals, prevent premature mortality, and stop ongoing transmission.
  • Expand and improve implementation of effective prevention interventions, including increased access to daily oral PrEP, which reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken daily. 
  • Repeal outdated laws around sex work that accounted for 97% of all of Kentuckys HIV-related arrests.
  • Authorize syringe exchange programs to create peer-to-peer programs that will expand access to sterile syringes, smoking kits, and other harm reduction tools to stop the spread of HIV.

On social media, others have shared their stories of being affected by HIV and some have honored those who passed during the height of the epidemic. 

David Williams, Activist and Founder of the Williams-Nichols Collection housed in the UofL Archives and Special Collections, shared some particularly poignant profiles via Facebook over the last 10 days.

Here are a few of the stories from Williams posted on Facebook: