Beneath a canopy of redwoods, those who have died from HIV and AIDS were remembered on World AIDS Day. Flowers and rose petals adorned the circle of friends sanctuary at the AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park. Etched in the flooring are names of loved ones and those who donated to the memorial. It is a quiet place where friends and strangers gathered to grieve.
"It actually speaks volumes to World Aids Day, remembering people from around the globe that have died and those who are living with the disease. Very inspirational," Layne Varholdt from San Francisco said.
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day was "Universal Access and Human Rights." An estimated 33 million people are living with HIV worldwide. Those committed to finding a cure believe more needs to be done on a global level to reduce the spread of the disease.
"We've had some great progress over the years in relation to medical care and medical treatment, but we're still dealing with a life-threatening illness and on a global level, and we need to look at it on a global level," John Cunningham from the National AIDS Memorial Grove said.
Special recognition was given to Jeanne White Ginder, founder of the Ryan White Care Act, which provide help to those suffering with the disease. Ginder's son Ryan White died of AIDS in 1990.
"It's been a long journey, but I've been able to see the great benefits from this, the Ryan White Care Act, especially that people are living now", she said.
Kelly Hart from the AIDS Emergency Fund had some encouraging words for people who are living with HIV.
"I'm living with HIV now for 16 years and the numbers are good and keep going. But days like today you wish you wouldn't have to keep commemorating something, you would like to celebrate that it is done," she said.