Santa Clara County marks World AIDS Day with compassion

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- The Santa Clara County Public Health Department marked World AIDS Day with a gathering at San Jose City Hall Friday evening.

RELATED: Reflecting on World AIDS Day

An AIDS quilt, bearing the names of those who have died, was laid out in the rotunda for viewing.

Dozens of people spent time admiring the somber piece of art.

Speakers, including San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and County Supervisor Ken Yeager, addressed the crowd and acknowledged the importance of the day.

Bob Reed, of the Santa Clara County HIV Commission, told his personal story of living with HIV. He praised the medical advancements that have enabled him to live into his 60s. He said he spent half of his life thinking he was dying-but that's no longer the case.

RELATED: San Francisco remembers lives lost on World AIDS Day

Dr. Sarah Lewis is the HIV Controller for the Public Health Department.

She said there are about 3,200 people living with HIV in Santa Clara County.

There were about 130 new cases in 2016.

But, with the medication now available, Lewis said people living with HIV today can have the same life expectancy as someone without HIV.

The event ended with a candlelight vigil.

Organizers took turns reading the names of people who lost their lives to AIDS.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.