Three Washington state HIV/AIDS service organizations have joined forces to realign their largest awareness and fundraising events previously known as the South Sound AIDS Walk, the Spokane AIDS Walk and the Seattle AIDS Walk. With a combined history of 68 walks spanning over 30 years, this collaboration is a new and innovative approach that brings the Seattle, Spokane and South Sound regions together around a common goal — to raise funds for HIV prevention and care services and to build awareness that, by preventing new infections, an end to AIDS in Washington State is near.
“After 28 years of walking, we wanted the name of the event to catch-up to the momentum and success around the advancements leading to HIV being a chronic, manageable condition for most,” stated Ed Wilhoite, Lifelong’s Executive Director. “Because we truly are so close to a finish line. The partnership with PCAF and the Spokane AIDS Network made sense to us. The message of ending AIDS becomes stronger and more visible as does our commitment to achieve this goal. Plus, only together can we reduce new infections and enter a new era where, absent a cure, AIDS is no longer a threat. This is a unique moment of both urgency and possibility.”
The three organizations, which collectively serve nearly 6,000 people living with HIV, are all part of the End AIDS Washington campaign launched on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2014 by Governor Jay Inslee. End AIDS Washington is a partnership of community stakeholders working together to reduce new HIV infections by 50 percent over the next five years. When the goal is reached in Washington, the HIV transmission rate will be one of the lowest in the United States.
Current rates of HIV infection in Washington have decreased slightly in recent years; however, there are about 500 new cases each year and around 14,000 people estimated to be living with HIV. People living with the disease may encounter challenges accessing and adhering to treatment or struggle to be accepted by their community. That’s where organizations like Lifelong, PCAF, and SAN come in, providing resources and support for years to come. The launch of the End AIDS Walks is a testament to a continued, unified effort to support those living with HIV/AIDS, reduce new infections, and end AIDS once and for all.
The End AIDS Walks are all operated independently of each other and benefit their local community. The Seattle and Spokane walks are held on September 26. The South Sound walk is held on September 12.
For more information or to register, visit End AIDS Walk.