SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – San Francisco has played a pivotal role in the fight against AIDS in America and around the world, leaders and activists said on Saturday at a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the first reported cases of the disease .
The Mayor of London Breed and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi spoke at the private ceremony at the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles were the first major American cities affected by AIDS.
When the first AIDS cases were reported in 1981, “San Francisco was on our own,” Breed said, “but we did what San Franciscans do best – we came together. … The healthcare system developed to help people with HIV / AIDS was developed right here in San Francisco. The renowned research that continues to this day has been established right here in our great city.
Pelosi, who organized the first fundraiser for the now famous AIDS Quilt, said the city’s compassionate, persistent and scientific approach to the crisis has helped San Francisco and the nation.
Pelosi said AIDS activism has also served as a model for other campaigns, including the fight against breast cancer, for marriage equality and against the old “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy. not ”which prevented homosexuals from serving openly, the Chronicle reported.
Joshua Gamson, a member of the National AIDS Memorial Grove board of directors, noted the coincidence of attending an AIDS memorial as the nation goes through the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s weird to come out of one pandemic and think about another,” Gamson said. “This is my first time in the grove since the pandemic, and I feel like I am stepping out of a cocoon and re-entering memories of the AIDS pandemic.”
The ceremony ended with a line of people formed to begin the hour-long ritual of reading the names of people who have died of AIDS.
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