With HIV infections on the rise, primarily among heterosexual women, African Americans and men and women between 35 and 49, proceeds from the 2010 AIDS Walk Phoenix & 5 K Run, an Aunt Rita’s Event, will support 19 Valley based agencies providing support, resources and services. The Walk is scheduled Sunday, October 3 in downtown Phoenix.
HIV Infection Rate Continues To Climb. There are 8,000 Confirmed Cases in Metropolitan Phoenix and 40,000 Americans are diagnosed each year.
The AIDS Walk began in Phoenix in 1987 and quickly grew to become a community-wide event that at its peak raised nearly $1 million dollars. Sadly, the agency that hosted the event closed its doors in 2003.
The AIDS Walk may have disappeared from Phoenix but HIV/AIDS has not. More people need care than ever before, but federal and private funding for medical care and supportive services continues to decline. The lack of HIV education and awareness throughout our community only makes the number of new HIV cases increase. More than ever, our community needs the AIDS Walk.
In 2007, a group of passionate individuals approached Aunt Rita’s Foundation, asking to revive the event. Aunt Rita’s agreed. AIDS Walk Phoenix has been steadily increasing in visibility and in funds raised since its re-introduction in 2008.
Aunt Rita’s Foundation raises and distributes money to Central Arizona agencies with programs to prevent HIV/AIDS or assist those living with the disease.
Now in its third year, last year’s Walk raised $380,000, which was distributed evenly among benefiting agencies, more than doubling the dollars generated in 2008 when the Walk returned to the Valley.
New this year is a 5K run, which begins at 9 a.m. immediately preceding the Walk. The run will be timed with medals awarded to the top three men and top three women finishers in six age categories.
Walkers and runners can register at www.aidswalkphoenix.org. Registration fee for walkers is $25 with resources in place to help participants raise additional fund through pledges. Early registration fee for runners is $30.00. Children 12 and under walk for free.
AIDS Walk Phoenix also offers Paws for the Cause, sponsored by Petco, Tailwinds Pet Resort, VetCare Internal Medicine Specialists and Desert Fire Resort, for walkers who want to bring their good-natured, sociable dogs along. A portion of the proceeds will benefit a new program, Leash on Life, which will help establish services for the companion animals of people living with HIV in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
The $10-per-dog Paws For the Cause registration fee includes a commemorative bandana and a bag of dog treats. Registration for adults is $25. Children 12 and under are free. All dogs must be registered to accompany their registered owner on the walk.
Teams and volunteers also are being sought. Registration can be completed on the Website.
Benefiting agencies are: 1 in 10, Agape Network, The Bill Holt Clinic at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Chicanos Por La Causa, Compassion in Action, Concilio Latino de Salud, Ebony House, Heal International, HIV/AIDS Law Project, HIV Care Directions, Joshua Tree Feeding Program, Inc., McDowell Healthcare Center, Native Health, The Phoenix Shanti Group, Project Hard Hat, Southwest Behavioral Health Services, Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, Terros and UCAN, Inc.
Walgreens is the Title Sponsor for the 2010 AIDS Walk Phoenix & 5K Run.
For more information about AIDS Walk Phoenix & 5K Run and to see a list of all the generous sponsors for the event, visit www.aidswalkphoenix.org.
HIV BY THE NUMBERS
Every 9 minutes someone tests positive in the United States
83%: percent of new HIV diagnoses among women from heterosexual contact
50%: one-half of all AIDS diagnoses in US are people 35-49
50%: half of all new U.S. HIV diagnoses are among African Americans.
29%: percent of new HIV diagnoses among people under 30 years of age
45 Years of Age: 2/3 of those who have died of AIDS never reached this age
50 Years of Age: more than 17% of new HIV diagnoses are among people 50 and over.
Aunt Rita’s Foundation is a community-driven charity whose singular focus is to raise money for, and distribute to, Central Arizona agencies with programs to prevent HIV/AIDS or assist those living with HIV/AIDS primarily through signature events that raise money and promote awareness of HIV/AIDS.
For information visit www.auntritas.org.
Photos and graphics used with permission.