With COVID-19 taking over 2020, it’s easy to forget that this disease is not the first deadly epidemic to emerge in our lifetime. AIDS Foundation Houston (AFH) has been fighting to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our community since 1982, when it became the first organization in Texas dedicated to HIV services and prevention. And on World AIDS Day, December 1, no pandemic is going to stop AFH from celebrating our achievements as we work toward ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Houston.

World AIDS Day 2020 is a virtual experience, and AFH has planned an incredible all-star event to entertain, connect, and inspire friends and supporters. Kicked off with a series of video invitations from Lance Bass, Shangela, Toddrick Hall, and Anthony Rapp, the virtual event will be emceed by Houston Public Media’s Ernie Manouse. Speakers include Mayor Sylvester Turner, fashion designer Mondo Guerra, Judge Lina Hidalgo, Victory Fund CEO and former Houston mayor Annise Parker, and Dr. Bruce Richman. Remarks will be made by Cleve Jones, American AIDS and LGBT activist and the recipient of the 2020 Shelby Hodge Vision Award.

The evening will also be enlivened with performances from America’s Got Talent semifinalist Christina Wells and Houston drag superstar Dessie Love-Blake, plus more surprises planned. And because the reason for this incredible event is to support the important work that AIDS Foundation Houston does in the community year-round, we’ll also hear testimonials from AFH board members, leadership, and clients.

Maybe they’ll mention the 1,200+ HIV tests conducted in 2019, the 3,000 clients served by the AFH food pantry, the 171 HIV-positive youth camp participants, or the 318 men, women, and children sheltered in AFH-run housing. Likely they’ll speak about the COVID-related obstacles that AFH overcame to continue offering safe and reliable services to their clients. And we’d be remiss not to point out that in these times of economic tumult, organizations like AFH are more crucial than ever, and they need our support.

The World AIDS Day Virtual Experience takes place on #GivingTuesday—Tuesday, December 1—at 6 p.m. There’s no better way to celebrate a national day of generosity than to support AFH and its vision of a community where HIV is stigma-free and rare, and people have equitable access to care. Whether you dress to the nines or attend in the latest couch-chic, the most important thing you can do with your evening is join us for our first-ever virtual celebration—tickets start at $5, and underwriter packages start at $500. Learn more and buy your ticket today at WorldAIDSDayHouston.org.

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