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Peacock will premiere HIV documentary on World AIDS Day

Drew, who was diagnosed with HIV in the late 1980’s when he was only 23 years old, was not paid for his participation in the trial



Right to Try (2021) Peacock/NBCUniversal Television and Streaming

NEW YORK — NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock will premiere the documentary short “Right to Try,” which explores one man’s search to cure his HIV, Wednesday on World AIDS Day. 

The film, produced by Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer and directed by “The Late Late Show With James Corden” producer Zeberiah Newman, follows HIV survivor and activist Jeffrey Drew’s participation in an experimental vaccine trial. 

“We are thrilled our film ‘Right to Try’ will be seen on Peacock. Though Jeffrey Drew’s heroic journey is singular, his story is universal,” Spencer said in a statement, according to Variety. “This is an important film and with Peacock we have a wonderful partner to bring it to our audience.”

Val Boreland, EVP of content acquisitions at NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, added: “It is an honor to share Drew’s story with Peacock users and raise awareness around the important issue of HIV research. We know the impact of this documentary will be far-reaching.”

The documentary shows the side effects that Drew experienced during the early days of the trial. The coronavirus pandemic interrupted the study, as the doctor spearheading the experimental vaccine started working on the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Drew, who was diagnosed with HIV in the late 1980’s when he was only 23 years old, was not paid for his participation in the trial that a major pharmaceutical company did not fund. 

“There are people who are still getting infected and sick and dying,” he told Variety in a June interview. “I would love to see a generation that doesn’t have to think or worry about this anymore.”
“Right to Try” won the Audience Award for Documentary Short last summer at Outfest, an LGBTQ+ film festival in Los Angeles.

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Los Angeles observes World AIDS Day with star-studded concert

Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and Juan Pablo di Pace will also be performing at the ceremony



LOS ANGELES — As World AIDS Day is recognized around the globe, Los Angeles will mark the day with a free concert with a star-studded line-up at The Forum hosted by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AFA) and a ceremony at The Wall Las Memorias (TWLA) AIDS Monument in Lincoln Park Wednesday.

In a press release, the AFA said Grammy award winners Jennifer Hudson and Christina Aguilera are set to perform in front of a sold-out crowd. Emmy-nominated comedian Randy Rainbow will host the event, which will take place from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

In addition to the entertainment, the AFA will honor Vermont’s U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders with a Lifetime Achievement Award and a special video presentation. The award will be accepted by his wife Jane Sanders.

“This year marks two significant milestones in the decades-long fight against HIV and AIDS: first, for the first recognition by the CDC of the virus that led to what is now known as AIDS (40 years ago, in June 1981), and second, the launch of AHF (35 years ago),” the release reads. 

TWLA’s ceremony will reveal an expanded footprint of the surrounding landscape of the country’s only publicly funded AIDS monument. The monument, created in 2004, will also add over 1,000 names of loved ones lost to AIDS to the 360-plus names already etched into it and unveil new artwork. 

TWLM Founder Richard Zaldivar, Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo and County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis are all expected to attend the event, which will start at 6:15 p.m. at 3600 N. Mission Road. According to NBC 4 Los Angeles, organizers also hope Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will be in attendance. 

Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and Juan Pablo di Pace will also be performing at the ceremony. 

World AIDS Day is observed every December 1 to raise awareness about AIDS and honor the people who have died of the disease. This year’s theme is “End inequities. End AIDS and End Pandemics.”

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National Black Justice Coalition Partners with Twitter for World AIDS Day

Conversations about HIV prevention, treatment, and support on World AIDS Day must center on the Black community.



Graphic courtesy of the National Black Justice Coalition

WASHINGTON n- On December 1, 2021, World AIDS Day, the National Black Justice Coalition is partnering with Twitter’s #CampaignsForChange and #TwitterIgnite on a campaign to educate people about HIV/AIDS and the importance of their involvement in the fight to end the epidemic. The campaign will center around a safe space on Twitter that encourages the use of the #MyFirstHIVTweet hashtag and urges people to talk about HIV and sexual wellness. ‘

World AIDS Day (WAD) is an opportunity to remember those who have passed due to an AIDS-related illness, support those currently living with HIV, and unite in the fight to end HIV/AIDS worldwide. 

An estimated 37.7 million people globally were living with HIV at the end of 2020, and since the epidemic began in the 1980s, 36.3 million people have died from an AIDS-related illness. 

In the U.S., the Black community is disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic, with gay, bisexual, and same-gender loving men and Black women being the most affected. In 2018, Black people comprised 42% (16,002) of the 37,968 new HIV diagnoses, and Black  same-gender loving, gay, and bisexual men made up 26% (9,712) of the new diagnoses. In 2016, Black women accounted for 6 in 10 new HIV diagnoses among women. 

“Conversations about HIV prevention, treatment, and support on World AIDS Day must center on the Black community.  We must reduce stigma in our community, including by having critically important but sometimes challenging conversations about HIV/AIDS,” explained David Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition.

“There are many people who are engaged in activism around the LGBTQ+ community and racial issues but are notably absent from the conversation around HIV. This is because the epidemic is not visible for them and because they lack accurate information on HIV. My hope is this safe space encourages people to send what will not be their last HIV/Tweet and to consider using NBJC to help find a testing location or to request an at-home testing kit. Too many people are still dying as a result of HIV/AIDS and this does not have to be our reality.” 

NBJC has created this Words Matter HIV Toolkit to support asset-based conversations about holistic health and wellness.  

For more information on how HIV/AIDS impacts the Black community and how to engage during World AIDS Day and beyond, view NBJC’s World AIDS Day Toolkit.  Get tested and know your status. Doctors recommend testing every three to six months.  

You can find a testing site near you at or if you are 17 years or older and live in the U.S., order a FREE at-home HIV test kit via the Have Good Sex program. 

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Congregation Kol Ami marks World AIDS Day

This year marks 40 years since the first cases of AIDS were reported in the United States



AIDS memorial, gay news, Washington Blade
AIDS Quilt, National Mall Washington D.C. (Photo courtesy of NAMES Project)

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA – Congregation Kol Ami marks World AIDS Day with a special interfaith observance, combining awareness, remembrance, and speaking out against HIV stigma, Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at 7:00 PM.

The national theme for the 2021 observance is “Ending the HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice,” and Confirmed speakers for the West Hollywood event include Dr. Michael Gottlieb, the immunologist known for being the first to identify AIDS in 1981 and who has led HIV/AIDS activism and philanthropic efforts associated with HIV/AIDS treatment since then. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at 7:00 PM

at Congregation Kol Ami and online at


Other speakers include Hon. John D’Amico (West Hollywood City Council), Hon. Mitch O’Farrell (Los Angeles City Council 13th District), Rev Denyse Barnes Pastor (LaCrescenta Methodist Church LGBTQIA+ Advocacy Coordinator for the Methodist Church.), Vallerie Wagner Clinic Director, APLA Health Gleicher/Chen Health Center, Rev. Keith Cox (Center for Spiritual Living), Rev. Janice Steele (West Hollywood UCC), Rev. Keith Mozingo (MCC) and Kol Ami’s Rabbi Denise L. Eger.

AS part of the event, Congregation Kol Ami has partnered with the National AIDS Memorial and will bring panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt to West Hollywood as part of World AIDS Day observances. It will be displayed mid-November to mid-December. The Quilt is the largest community arts project in the world.  Its first panels were created nearly 35 years ago during the darkest days of the pandemic and today, consists of 50,000 individually-sewn panels with the names of more than 110,000 people who have died of AIDS.

This year marks 40 years since the first cases of AIDS were first reported in the United States.  Dr. Gottlieb, our keynote speaker was the first to write about the symptoms in 5 people in his practice for the CDC. During that four decade span, more than 700,000 lives have been lost in this country to HIV/AIDS, with still no cure. Today, HIV is on the rise, particularly among young people, communities of color and in southern states. 

Alongside her historic work bringing LGBT acceptance to Reform Judaism, Rabbi Denise L. Eger is known for her work in the LGBT community caring for and supporting people with HIV in a commitment to “help healing the world.”  Rabbi Eger would feed those too weak to do it themselves, often removing her mask and gloves, providing a rare dose of human touch. Then she’d move to another patient and another hospital, all while she was coming out publicly.

“The early years of the AIDS epidemic was a nightmare.  A diagnosis of AIDS seemed like a certain death sentence,” Rabbi Eger says. “Better treatments, care and education have enabled People with HIV to live long lives. Our support group has continued through the years to provide support, caring, connection and Jewish community.”

Congregation Kol Ami, serving LGBTQ and allied Jews and their families in West Hollywood, was founded by Rabbi Eger during the height of the AIDS crisis. Since then, the congregation has been a prominent source of care for people living with HIV, with its HIV+ support group, the longest running Jewish support group in the nation, continuing today. It accepts new members, regardless of religion, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

This event is one of several the congregation has held throughout the year. In April, Rabbi Eger brought together community members and specialists from Israel and West Hollywood to hold a “City-to-City Dialogue” about cure and prevention of HIV.

The event is co-sponsored by Center for Spiritual Living, Founders MCC (Metropolitan Community Church) and ICAN: Israeli-American Civic Action Network.

Full list of speakers: Rabbi Denise L. Eger, Rev. Keith Cox, Dr. Michael Gottlieb, Hon. John D’Amico (West Hollywood City Council), Mr. Michael Sugar (long time survivor living with AIDS), Rev. Denyse Barnes (Pastor, LaCrescenta Methodist Church), Hon. Mitch O’Farrell (Los Angeles City Council 13th District), Rev. Janice Steele (West Hollywood UCC), Rev. Keith Mozingo (MCC).

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