AIDS Walk Boston Draws 10,000 Participants

Over 10,000 people came together on Sunday, June 2, to participate in the AIDS Walk, a fundraiser for the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts.
© 2013 Marilyn Humphries
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Over 10,000 people came together on Sunday, June 2, to participate in the AIDS Walk, a fundraiser for the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts.  © 2013 Marilyn Humphries

Over 10,000 people came together on Sunday, June 2, to participate in the AIDS Walk, a fundraiser for the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts.
© 2013 Marilyn Humphries

AIDS Action Committee Close To Meeting Fundraising Goal of $1 Million

BOSTON, Mass.—The AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts (AAC) announced today that it is confident that it will meet its fundraising goal of $1 million from this weekend’s 28th AIDS Walk Boston & 5k Run. There was a strong turnout of more than 10,000 walkers for AIDS Walk Boston and 700 runners for the Athleta 5K Run. The annual AIDS Walk & 5K Run is the largest event held in New England to raise public awareness of the ongoing need for outreach, education, and prevention efforts to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS. [pullquote]In his opening remarks to AIDS Walk & 5K run participants, U.S. Congressman Joe Kennedy stressed the need to continue efforts to end HIV/AIDS.[/pullquote]

Money raised from the AIDS Walk & 5K Run supports the services provided by AIDS Action to people living with and impacted by HIV/AIDS. These funds have become increasingly critical to support HIV/AIDS services and prevention efforts as public funding for HIV/AIDS programs and services continues to decline. State funding for HIV services has been cut by 38 percent over the last 10 years. During the same period, the number of people living with HIV in Massachusetts has increased 44 percent.

Rep. Joe Kennedy addresses the crowd at the AIDS Walk fundraiser for the AIDS Action Committee. Photo: © 2013 Marilyn Humphries

U.S. Congressman Joe Kennedy addresses the crowd at the AIDS Walk fundraiser for the AIDS Action Committee.
Photo: © 2013 Marilyn Humphries

In his opening remarks to AIDS Walk & 5K run participants, U.S. Congressman Joe Kennedy stressed the need to continue efforts to end HIV/AIDS. State Representative Jeffrey Sanchez talked about the importance of ending the health care disparities that see the epidemic disproportionately impacting communities of color. WCVB-TV Eye Opener Newscaster Randy Price emceed the event, which also included the popular Wellness Festival presented by Whole Foods Market.

“We are so grateful to our walkers, runners and hundreds of volunteers, many of whom contribute each year, who make this event so successful. Their efforts ensure that those most vulnerable in our community will have access to the vital services and support that they need. Since 1999, these services have helped reduced the number of new HIV infections in the state by 53 percent, which will save the state more than $2 billion in health care costs,” said Rebecca Haag, President & CEO of AAC. “We also want to remind people that there is still time to donate online or through the mail to help us reach our goal. This money is vital to funding our policy work, client services, and outreach and prevention—all of which is needed to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS.”

 

FACTS ABOUT AIDS IN MASSACHUSETTS

  • Between FY 2000 and FY 2013, the budget for HIV/AIDS has decreased 38% from $51.7 million to $32.1 million.
  • Between 2000 and 2011 (the last year for which statistics are available), the number of people living HIV/AIDS in Massachusetts increased 44%, placing substantial demands on existing prevention and treatment programs.
  • In 2010, just over half (51%) of all HIV infection diagnoses in the state occurred among men who reported male-to-male sex as the way they were exposed to HIV; that is up from 44% of men newly diagnosed with HIV reporting male-to-male sex as their exposure mode in 2001.
  • 11% of HIV infection diagnoses in MA from 2008 to 2010 were of adolescents and young adults age 13-24.
  • Blacks make up only 6% of the state’s population, but they comprise 29% of those living with HIV/AIDS in MA.
  • Hispanics make up only 8% of the state’s population, but they comprise 25% of those living with HIV/AIDS in MA.
  • As of 2011, male-to-male sex and injection drug use were the leading reported exposure modes for HIV infection for those living with HIV/AIDS in MA accounting for 36% and 21% of all exposures, respectively.

FACTS ABOUT AIDS WALK Boston

The AIDS Walk was first held in 1986 and is one of the first walks to be introduced in Boston, as well as the country. The 5K run was added to open up fundraising to runners. Historically AAC’s largest fundraising event, it has raised nearly $39 million for programs and services to support those living with and at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS.

Corporate sponsors of this year’s AIDS Walk and 5K Run include Macy’s Foundation, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Whole Foods Market, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, EMD Serono, Eastern Bank, TJX Companies, Partners HealthCare, Fenway Health, State Street Corporation, TD Bank, PharmaHealth Pharmacy, Jet Blue, Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Massachusetts, ABT Associates, Mintz Levin, Neighborhood Health Plan, Delta Dental, Athleta, Polar Beverages, Green Park Mortgage, A Division of Berkshire Bank, and VIIV Healthcare. This year’s media sponsors include WCVB-TV 5, Yelp, El Planeta, KISS 108 FM, Evolution 101.7 FM, JAM’N 95.5 FM.

About AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts

AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts is the state’s leading provider of prevention and wellness services for people vulnerable to HIV infection. It provides services to one in six people in Massachusetts living with an HIV diagnosis. These services include HIV counseling and testing; needle exchange; mental health counseling; housing assistance; and legal services. AIDS Action works to prevent new HIV infections, support those affected by HIV, and tackle the root causes of HIV/AIDS by educating the public and health professionals about HIV prevention and care; and advocating for fair and effective HIV/AIDS policy at the city, state, and federal levels. Founded in 1983, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts is New England’s first and largest AIDS service organization. Learn more at www.aac.org.

[From a News Release]

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