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New York City Seal Press Release

New York City Department of Health
and Mental Hygiene

Office of Communications
CONTACT: Edward Skyler /
Jennifer Falk - (212) 788-2958
Sandra Mullin (Health) (212) 788-5290
Tuesday, November 26, 2002


Two Panels Of The Aids Memorial Quilt On Display At Gracie Mansion To Mark Occasion

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today hosted a breakfast at Gracie Mansion in honor of the 15th Annual World AIDS Day, the single largest internationally recognized day for AIDS awareness. World AIDS Day began in 1988 as a call for awareness by the World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS Prevention; this year will mark the 15th year that December 1st is recognized as World AIDS Day by the governments and communities around the world including the United Nations and the World Health Assembly.

Deputy Mayor for Policy Dennis Walcott, UN/Consular Corps and Protocol Commissioner Marjorie Tiven, and Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/AIDS UN, a United Nations program, Wendy Fitzwilliam, also attended the breakfast. Wendy Fitzwilliam, the 1998 Miss Universe of Trinidad and Tobago, is the UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/AIDS. As the main advocate for global action on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS leads, strengthens and supports an expanded response aimed at preventing the transmission of HIV.

"This is a day when we pledge our commitment to the fight against the spread of AIDS," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We commit ourselves to helping the more than 100,000 New Yorkers living with AIDS, and the tens of thousands who are HIV-positive find treatment and live productive lives, free of discrimination or stigma, and to continuing the research that will find a cure for AIDS. It's also a day when we remember all those who have been lost to AIDS worldwide."

To mark the day, two panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt were on display at Gracie Mansion during the breakfast. The two panels were portions of Quilts from New Yorkers, Broadway stars, and children who have died from AIDS; one panel is for Michael Bennett and the other is for Ryan White. The AIDS Memorial Quilt is made possible through The NAMES Project, a non-profit organization that uses the quilt as a powerful tool for prevention education.

The theme for this year's World AIDS Day is eliminating stigma and discrimination – to "Live and Let Live." According to the NYC Department of Health (DOH), New York City has approximately 100,000 known cases of HIV/AIDS, with as many as an additional 40,000 individuals living with HIV/AIDS but not knowing it. 74% of people living with HIV/AIDS in New York City are people of color.

"Although death rates from AIDS have dropped dramatically in recent years, it is still the 4th leading cause of death in New York City, and the leading killer of people aged 25 to 44," said Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Frieden. "Every New Yorker who has been sexually active should know their HIV status, and all of society has an interest in promoting safer sex practices including condom use among those who are sexually active."

Under Health Commissioner Frieden, the City is pursuing a number of HIV prevention measures. A "B-Y-O-C" or "Bring Your Own Condom" campaign, aimed African American and Hispanic young men and women, urges taking responsibility for condom use, and over the past year, 3 million condoms have been distributed to community-based organizations and health facilities.

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