With live music, local food and a nod to its history of service, Test Positive Aware Network TPAN) marked its 25th year Oct. 5.
More than 300 attended the anniversary gala, held downtown at the Chicago Cultural Center.
The three-hour event honored those lost to AIDS over the course of the organization's history as well as those who continue fight against HIV.
"It is hard for me to use the word 'celebration' talking about the fact that TPAN is still around when I think about those we have lost and those who still suffer," TPAN Executive Director Bill Farrand said. "But for the first time in history, an AIDS-free generation is emerging as a very viable possibility."
TPAN began in June 1987 as a peer-led support space for people with HIV/AIDS. Today, the organization employs 45 staff members.
The evening honored Jeff Berry, TPAN's editor and director of publications, who received the Charles E. Clifton Leadership Award.
Berry began going to TPAN in 1989 as a client and then became a volunteer. Berry said he never imagined he would live long enough to stand on stage to accept the award.
"TPAN literally saved my life and somewhere it became my life's work," said Berry.
Guests were treated to a sampling of food from local restaurateurs as well a live performance by Jamar Rogers, a former contestant on NBC's "The Voice" who came out as HIV-positive on the show.