Rochester Victory Alliance, ImageOut, Bring Award-Winning Documentary to Film Fest

Oct. 4, 2011

To present the unimaginable story of the onset of AIDS at its epicenter – the San Francisco gay community – URMC’s Rochester Victory Alliance has joined with ImageOut, the Rochester Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival to present “We Were Here: The AIDS Years in San Francisco.”

The film will be featured as the festival’s Documentary Centerpiece at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10, at The Little Theatre, Rochester.

It’s been 30 years since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report that five gay men had a rare form of pneumonia previously unseen in healthy individuals. These were the first recognized cases of AIDS in the United States.

San Francisco resident Ed Wolf, is featured in the documentary and will make an appearance after the screening. Wolf has worked in the HIV field since 1983 and will host a Q&A immediately after the film.

Michael Keefer, M.D., principal investigator for the Rochester Victory Alliance, URMC’s HIV vaccine trials unit, says, “We believe it’s important for new generations to remember the terrible losses the gay community has suffered, and how far we’ve come since 1981 in the fight against AIDS. While it’s no longer thought of as a death sentence for those with access to good health care, it is still a tragedy for those living in poverty, and also young African Americans in our inner cities who may not even be aware that they have the disease. The only solution to the scourge of HIV/AIDS is to find a vaccine to prevent it.”

The University of Rochester Medical Center was one of the first sites in the nation to conduct HIV vaccine research studies, beginning in 1988. Since then, 1,910 people from the Rochester area have participated in more than 50 vaccine research trials. The Rochester Victory Alliance is a member of the international HIV Vaccine Trials Network, which is supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The Rochester Victory Alliance currently works with HIV vaccine research teams in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and South Africa.

For more information about the Rochester Victory Alliance or if you are interested in volunteering for a trial, contact the Rochester Victory Alliance at (585) 756-2329 (756-2DAY). Visit the Rochester Victory Alliance on Facebook at Twitter at

For information or tickets to “We Were Here: The AIDS Years in San Francisco,” contact the ImageOut Gay and Lesbian Film and Video Festival at at (585) 271-2640.