Wreath Laying Ceremony

Each year on December 1st, World AIDS Day, the Office of Health Policy and AIDS Funding (OHP) hosts a Wreath Laying Ceremony in Washington Square Park at the site of the HIV/AIDS monument, an area with the highest LGBT population. The purpose of the ceremony is to recognize those who are living with HIV and pay respect to those who have passed as a result of AIDS-related complications. 

Since the beginning of the epidemic in the early 1980s, more than 1.2 million people have been diagnosed with AIDS, and 1 in 8 people in the U.S. are living with HIV and are unaware of their status. Those who are unaware are more likely to spread the virus to others. It is important to let everyone know that HIV testing and treatment are usuallly free and available to those who need services. 

HIV affects us all and the virus is non-discriminatory. In order to reduce stigma, it is vital to address the misconceptions surrounding HIV by recognizing that it is a preventable, treatable, and manageable disease, rather than a death sentence. Together we can end HIV transmission by coming together to raise awareness and encourage each other to get tested and treated.