On December 1, 2011, something truly breathtaking in its simplicity and power happened in Richmond, Virginia. At precisely 12 o’clock, 400 red umbrellas popped open on an island in the James River to symbolize a recommitment to education and prevention and hope. At that exact moment Richmond led the Commonwealth and the nation in saying, “30 years is simply too long.” We reminded our neighbors near and far that the fight is not yet won and that complacency and indifference are taking precious lives. At precisely 12:00 o’clock, we united, reinvigorated, in the battle against HIV/AIDS.

Standing in a sea of red umbrellas, we remembered—the people living with HIV/AIDS today…the friends we lost yesterday…and the ones who will be lost tomorrow.

Fan Free Clinic (FFC) led this effort in order to shine a spotlight on the AIDS epidemic that continues in Richmond and throughout the Commonwealth. Virginia ranks 13th among all U.S. states in terms of the number of cumulative AIDS diagnoses; approximately 23,000 Virginians are living with HIV/AIDS. In 2009, Virginia ranked 11th in the number of new HIV infections among those states and U.S. territories with confidential name-based HIV testing.

Our 2011 World AIDS Day observance coincided with the 30th anniversary of the first AIDS case diagnosis in June of 1981. Since the earliest days of the pandemic, Fan Free Clinic has been at the forefront in the Richmond community responding to the needs of persons infected by the virus and working diligently to share HIV prevention education with whomever will listen.

To view photos, an event video, and learn more about RVA Remembers, click here.


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