SAN FRANCISCO (CBS-SF) – Dozens gathered at the National AIDS Memorial Grove nestled in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park Tuesday to remember friends and loved ones who have died of the disease.

As the names of the victims were read, solemn prayers were quietly said among those gathered.

Tuesday is World AIDS Day, a time for government and community leaders, medical professionals, friends and family members of those who are suffering with the disease or have succumbed to it to make sure we all are reminded that AIDS is still with us and the fight to find a cure must continue.

Since it was identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

There are about 34 million people living with the virus worldwide, and although huge advances have been made in treatment of the disease, “World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and local officials that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.”

There are several ways to join the battle. For those who want to volunteer for programs to help AIDs patients or to donate to Bay Area organizations dealing with disease just CLICK HERE.

If you have diagnosed as being HIV positive or having AIDS CLICK HERE to get medical care and other services.

Nationally you can donate to Elton John AIDS Foundation or Bono’s RED organization to fight AIDS.

You can also find a clinic where you can get an HIV/AIDS test by CLICKING HERE.

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