The World AIDS Museum and Educational Center 

Present the official kick-off to World AIDS Day at The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale


Rocking a red ribbon not only completes any outfit; it shows everyone – especially people living with HIV and their families – your support. On Tuesday, December 1 at 8:30am The World AIDS Museum and Educational Center (WAM) will present the official kick-off to World AIDS Day, founded in 1988 and themed this year as Rock the Ribbon. Hosted by The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale, the event will feature special guests Chuck Panozzo, Styx rock band member, and Laura Vivas, recording artist and former contestant on The Voice.


“As an advocacy and learning center, World AIDS Museum is proud to present this open to everyone effort that keeps HIV care and education at the forefront,” said Requel Lopes, executive director of WAM. “World AIDS Day remains as relevant today as it’s always been, reminding people and governments that HIV has not gone away. There is still a critical need for increased funding for the AIDS response, to increase awareness of the impact of HIV on people’s lives, to end stigma and discrimination and to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV.”


World AIDS Museum will gather elected officials, fellow HIV-related agencies and other stakeholders.  Attendees will embrace this community gathering with special performances by Laura Vivas and the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus under the direction of Gary Keating. DJ Aulden Brown will add his flair to rock the crowd. 


“The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale is honored to host this global effort which impacts the lives of so many, here, and abroad,” said Melissa Milroy, senior marketing manager at The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale. “We have a history of supporting this health-related cause from hosting past art exhibitions and AIDS quilt panel displays and we will continue to show our support.”


Special guest Styx rock band member Chuck Panozzo will be one of the voices heard as to why this day is so important. Charles Salvatore “Chuck” Panozzo is an American musician best known as the bass player for the rock band Styx. A longtime member of Styx, he founded the group with his fraternal twin brother, drummer John Panozzo, who died in July 1996, and singer/keyboardist Dennis De Young. He toured part-time from 1999 to 2003, and currently tours with Styx on a regular basis.


Chuck Panozzo is openly gay and has been out since 2001. That year, he also announced that he is living with HIV, and has been involved in campaigning for AIDS awareness and gay rights. In 2006, he spoke with Frontiers for the first time about his decision to come out. The following year, he released his autobiography “The Grand Illusion: Love, Lies, and My Life with Styx.”


Laura Vivas will offer a live performance that will coincide with the rock theme. Her blind audition on NBC’s hit show The Voice, Season 3, resulted in a spot on Christina Aguilera’s team. A native of Puerto Rico, Vivas’ career began at age 18 singing back-up for local artists. Since 2007, she has been the lead singer and the lone female in a six-piece South Florida cover band called Re-Mix. She has opened for artists such as Roberta Flack, Chaka Khan, Bruce Hornsby and more.


The event, sponsored by The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale, Seasons 52, Michael Murphy Photography and GPR | Goodman Public Relations, will be open to the public and take place outdoors under the covered valet parking entrance. Facial coverings will be required. Attendees are encouraged to register in advance at