There are over 27,000 people living with HIV in Greater Philadelphia, according to the city’s Office of HIV Planning. To raise awareness and funds for those living with the virus, AIDS Walk Philly is back with its annual 5K walk.
Last year’s walk, organized by AIDS Fund, was conducted virtually due to the pandemic. Viewers tuned in to the AIDS Fund’s social media platforms and website for information on the most up-to-date methods of treating and preventing HIV, but of course, the community aspect was lacking.
This year, the in-person element is returning and will be preceded by a kick-off event to increase awareness of the organization’s efforts in the battle against AIDS.
The walk encourages Philadelphians to “be a lifeline” for their neighbors and loved ones by raising public awareness and funds for those living with HIV/AIDS in the region — which the AIDS Fund says now has an infection rate three times greater than the national average.
This year, organizers say safe housing is the highest priority they want to tackle through the From All Walks of Life Fund. AIDS Fund Executive Director Robb Reichard told WHYY the funds raised from this event will stay in the region.
“Our emergency fund assists the most vulnerable people living with HIV by keeping a financial crisis from becoming a health crisis,” Reichard said.
At the kickoff, members of the Philadelphia community affected by HIV will share their experiences, and Reichard will discuss how AIDS Walk Philly will directly assist individuals living with HIV in emergency situations.
“It is critical that we continue in this fight until every community and person living with HIV disease has equal access to life-saving prevention and care,” he said.
The kickoff will take place Friday, Sept. 24 at 11:30 a.m. at the corner of 18th & Walnut streets, the entrance to Rittenhouse Square.
The AIDS Walk itself will take place on Sunday, Oct. 17, on Martin Luther King Drive. Registration will begin at 7 a.m. and the walk begins at 8:30 a.m. For more information, visit www.aidswalkphilly.org.
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