Manhattan —

Village Care, an HIV/AIDS education and health care non-profit, observed World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 with a balloon release, music and words from patients who live with HIV/AIDS.  The mood at the event was not one of despair, but rather one of hope.

“The longevity of life has increased because of the new medications they’re coming up with,” said Gregory Davis, 45, who has been living with AIDS since 1996.
“I am hopeful one day that they will find the research.”

Davis moved two months ago to Rivington House, a Village Care location on the Lower East Side where event, marking the beginning of AIDS Awareness Month, took place. Live-in patients, some of whom were dressed in red, clapped, sang, prayed and offered thanks to those who give them the resources and therapy they need to live with their illness.

There are 107,000 people in New York City living with HIV/AIDS, according to the city Health Department. More than two-thirds are men and about 90 percent are over 40.  The average age of the 176 clients at Rivington House is 49.

The Centers for Disease Control has noted that advanced medicine and technology is changing the face of AIDS, helping people live longer and healthier lives. The patients living at Rivington House are a reflection of this change.

AUDIO SLIDESHOW: Residents of the Lower East Side's Rivington House talk about living with HIV/AIDS.