Volume 20, Number 30 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | December 7 - 13, 2007

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World AIDS Day in Lower Manhattan

As it has done every Dec. 1 since 1995, Housing Works, the AIDS services group, maintained a vigil at the south end of City Hall Park and read what it estimated as more than 100,000 names of those who have died of AIDS. According to the city Department of Health, more than 92,000 New York City residents have died from the pandemic since it was first identified in 1981. Among those reading names were state Health Commissioner Richard Daines, city Comptroller William Thompson, Jr., and Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn joined New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation president Alan D. Aviles for an announcement that the city’s public hospitals have seen a 116 percent increase in H.I.V. tests in the past three fiscal years, from 62,023 to 134,000. Dr. Thomas Frieden, the city health commissioner, has made increasing routine H.I.V. testing a priority, citing figures that roughly three in 10 New Yorkers who are H.I.V.-positive first learn their status when they develop full-blown AIDS symptoms, meaning they had been living with an infectious virus for perhaps a decade or more without knowing it.

The day before World AIDS Day, Jim Konetsky, far right, held a photo of Joe Garcia — his partner of 19 years — as he lit a candle in Garcia’s memory at God’s Love We Deliver on Sixth Ave. and Spring St.

Advocates also held their annual march from the LGBT Community Center to Union Square on World AIDS Day, expressing both their anger and their commitment to continue fighting. The march followed a concert at the Community Center featuring a program of composers lost to AIDS including Chris DeBlasio, Lee Gannon, Deolus Husband, Robert Savage, and Nicholas Schaffner. The Downtown Chamber & Opera Players performed with Mimi Stern-Wolfe conducting and playing piano; Richard Barone on guitar and vocals; Gilles Denizot singing baritone; Kristin Norderval singing soprano; Andrew Bolotowsky on flute and piccolo; Michael Nicholas on violin; David Hopkins on clarinet and bass clarinet; Daniel Barrett on cello; and Alan Moverman on piano. The ensemble performed the same concert again on Dec. 2 at St. Marks in the Bowery.

— Paul Schindler

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