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Empire State Plaza Will Host World AIDS Day Observance

State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., invites students and New Yorkers of all ages to join in the observance of World AIDS Day at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany on December 4, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., to show their support for individuals living with HIV/AIDS. The focus of this year's observance is on making a community-wide commitment to prevent more cases of HIV infection.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has issued a proclamation recognizing December 1, 2013, as World AIDS Day in New York State to remember the individuals who have died from the disease and those currently afflicted with HIV/AIDS. As part of the observance on December 4, the State Department of Health (DOH) will honor "unknown heroes" from across New York State, who without being known or recognized, assist others who are impacted and affected by HIV/AIDS.

"More than 197,000 New Yorkers have been diagnosed with AIDS, and more than 130,000 individuals in the State are currently living with HIV/AIDS," said Commissioner Shah. "Through the observance of World AIDS Day, we are raising awareness of the disease and encouraging community members to engage in an open dialogue that will reduce the fear and stigma attached to it."

New York State Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen said: "As a result of decreasing mortality and increased life expectancy, the percentage of people age 60 and older who are living with HIV/AIDS is on the increase. Many of these individuals are cared for by a social network which includes family and friends. The State Office for the Aging joins the Health Department in honoring these unknown heroes on World AIDS Day."

Sections of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display in the Plaza Convention Center on December 4. Panel makers will dedicate their loved ones' panels and the NAMES Project New York Capital Region Chapter will accept the new panels, which will be sent to Atlanta to be added to the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

Those being honored with this year's Distinguished Service Awards include:

Linda Laubenstein HIV Clinical Excellence Award:

For additional information on World AIDS Day Expo activities,(External Link) visit the DOH webpage at: www.health.ny.gov/WAD.