World AIDS Day: ways to participate

Today marks the twenty-sixth annual observation of World AIDS Day, dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic, which has killed more than 36 million people worldwide since 1981.  This year's federal theme is "Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation."

Below, GLAAD highlights a few of the events taking place for World AIDS Day, as well as ways to get involved online.

In Los Angeles, Westminster Presbyterian Church held a Sunday evening concert honoring and remembering those impacted by HIV/AIDS to preface today's events. Today, AIDS Project Los Angeles is holding a countywide food drive to secure donations of non-perishables and hygiene items for Angelenos living with HIV/AIDS. See this list for more events in Los Angeles.

1 in 200 Americans will contract HIV, but the number is 3 times the national average in Detroit. Daylong events are being held at the Detroit Opera House from 8am until 10pm today, kicking off with a Mayor's breakfast and culminating in evening performances by past American Idol contestants, including Kimberly Locke. A symposium will be held by the mother of Ryan White, the teenager who became the poster child for HIV/AIDS in the United States after being expelled from his middle school in the 1980s.

Jersey City, New Jersey observes the day for its 27th year with speeches from local health professionals and clergy members, as well as a candlelit vigil. A portion of the AIDS Memorial Quilt is on display, and free HIV testing will take place from 3-7pm.

In Norfolk, Virginia, The LGBT Center and Access AIDS Care will benefit from Arts for Life, the 8th annual performing arts event of its kind, featuring internationally recognized local artists, include a dance troupe and men's chorus.

From 12-2pm (EST), the White House will broadcast a live webcast, which can be viewed here.

To participate on social media, you can submit a photo with the hashtag #FacingAIDS to help put an end to the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and to stand in solidarity.

AIDS Watch is a 24 hour worldwide memorial, "established to remind us that the battle is not over." You can add a name in remembrance, and an ongoing list will stream throughout the day.

To find HIV testing sites or care services, go to

As the day unfolds, please share more events in the comments below!