“Their lives were taken from them.”: Locals remember and reflect on World Aids Day

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — December 1st marks World AIDS Day. In Wilmington, many came together to remember the AIDS epidemic and to honor those lost to the disease.

Men and women gathered at St. Jude’s church Wednesday, remembering the aids epidemic and those it claimed with a reflective walk and aids quilt viewing.

AIDS, a late stage virus caused by HIV, has claimed tens of millions of lives worldwide and killed hundreds of thousands here in the United States.

“I moved to New York in 1979,” said attendee, Jerry Marshall, “and by 1993, all of the men I met in my first three years in New York were gone. You miss your friends, they were good men.”

Another attendee, Dave Rogers also moved to New York just as the AIDS epidemic began ravaging the city. He was diagnosed HIV positive, and lost two partners to the infection.

According to Rogers, remembering them is the most difficult, yet necessary part of world AIDS day. “They’re not here,” Rogers said. “And they should be here enjoying their lives. But that was taken from them.”

The bittersweet day reminds those who lived through the epidemic of the trials they faced and continue to face, and also of the men and women whose lives were cut short.

“It’s a very difficult time to reflect upon, I mean, that was my youth,” Rogers continued. Marshall responded, “It definitely makes you feel your mortality.”

Though gone now, the victims’ names burn bright in the minds of those who knew them best, still living on amongst a community still haunted and forever changed.

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