To commemorate World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 and celebrate its 30th anniversary, the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the world’s largest AIDS organization, will host a series of events across the world to continue to spread awareness about HIV and AIDS. The activities will include free concerts in Haiti, Mexico City and the United States as well as free awareness and testing events throughout the U.S., Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Asia.
In Los Angeles, Grammy award-winning singer Mariah Carey and award-winning music producer and AHF partner DJ Khaled will perform at a free concert event hosted by Mario Lopez and actress Laverne Cox. The concert is on Thursday, Nov. 30, at the Shrine Auditorium, located at 665 W. Jefferson Blvd. AHF partner Debbie Allen and the Debbie Allen Dance Academy will also perform during the event. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m. Reservations can be made online at http://ahfwad.org/.
During the event, AHF will recognize the 5th anniversary of Impulse Group United, its international advocacy and empowerment group dedicated to promoting healthier sexual lifestyles among young gay men in 20 cities around the world. The founder of Impulse Group United, Jose Ramos, and members of the group will receive the Chris Brownlie Community Champion Award named in honor of gay political activist and AHF co-founder Chris Brownlie. AHF also will present its Lifetime Achievement Award to a recipient to honor his or her contributions to the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
In Miami, Grammy-nominated artist and actress Sheila E. will join Latin Grammy Award-winning reggaeton artist Yandel and singer-songwriter Becky G. on Dec. 1 for a free concert at Bayfront Park Amphitheater, located at 301 Biscayne Blvd. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the show will begin at 6:30 p.m.
AHF was born from the work in 1987 of activists such as Michael Weinstein, AHF’s president; Chris Brownlie; Sharon Raphael and Mina Meyer, who were co-founders of the Los Angeles AIDS Hospice Committee. The idea was to provide some comfort for those infected with a disease that, at the time, meant sure death. That beginning is chronicled in the documentary “Keeping the Promise: AHF 30 Years,” that premiered in Los Angeles on Oct. 19 at the Arclight in Hollywood and now is being shown around the world.
Brownlie, Weinstein, Myer, Raphael, Paul Coleman and others organized to open the Chris Brownlie Hospice, L.A. County’s first AIDS hospice, in 1988. It eventually opened two others, in 1992 and 1995. When anti-retroviral treatment became available in 1994 and 1995, AHF evolved into an organization helping those infected with HIV to live with it and also to spread the word about how to avoid the risks of infection with a still-incurable disease. In July 1990, the group officially became the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which today offers care to more than 800,000 individuals in 15 states and 36 countries in North America, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific region and Eastern Europe.