Members of the audience affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma were asked to join singer Frenchie Davis on the main stage at the opening plenary of the U.S. Conference on AIDS in D.C. on Sept. 7, 2017. Washington Blade photo by Michael Key

AIDS Conference Organizers Create $1 Million Hurricane Relief Fund

BY MICHAEL K. LAVERS, WASHINGTON BLADE

Organizers of the U.S. Conference on AIDS on Thursday announced the creation of a $1 million fund to help HIV/AIDS service organizations in areas impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

AIDS United's Southern HIV Impact Fund will distribute the funds, which Gilead Sciences has donated.

Conference organizers announced the fund immediately after singer Frenchie Davis performed at the opening plenary at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in D.C. Conference attendees from South Florida and Texas and Charlottesville, Va., where a deadly white supremacist rally took place last month, joined her on stage.

Irma on Wednesday caused widespread destruction in the U.S. Virgin Islands and other islands in the northeastern Caribbean. The Category 5 hurricane -- which is currently located north of the Dominican Republic with sustained winds of 180 mph -- is expected to make landfall near Miami on Sunday.

More than 4' of rain inundated parts of the Houston metropolitan area and surrounding areas late last month after Harvey made two landfalls on the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coasts. The hurricane killed at least 70 people and displaced tens of thousands of people throughout the region.

This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National Gay Media Association.
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