Categorized | Charity, Living, People

Philadelphia AIDS Walk 2008

By AML Publisher
Photos Courtesy of Kevin E. McPherson

The AIDS Memorial Quilt is the largest ongoing community arts project in the world.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt is the largest ongoing community arts project in the world.

Monday December 1st is World AIDS Day and over twenty local Philadelphia organizations have banded together to create a community event that both remembers the lives lost to this disease, as well as celebrates the lives of those living with HIV and AIDS.

The World Health Organization and the United Nations General Assembly first declared World AIDS Day in 1988 as a way to focus global attention on the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS on the entire world. Since then it has become one of the most visible events for raising awareness of the AIDS crisis worldwide. Once known as A Day Without Art, due to the heavy toll AIDS had taken on the arts community, AIDS no longer recognizes “boundaries,” instead reaching across all occupations, nations, all races and genders; indeed, every part of the globe.

Philadelphia World AIDS Day Event will take place at the Broad Street Ministry, 315 Broad Street on Monday December 1st from 6-8pm. In the U.S., someone becomes infected with HIV every 9 minutes. 1 in 4 people infected with the virus in the U.S. are unaware of their HIV status. An estimated 30,000 people in the Philadelphia region are currently living with HIV. There is still no cure for HIV/AIDS.

In recognition of Worlds AIDS Day, AroundMainLine.com looks back on this fall’s annual AIDS Walk Philly.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter Addresses the Crowd

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter Addresses the Crowd

Approximately 15,000 Philadelphians came out in support of the 22nd Annual AIDS Walk on Sunday, October 19th. AIDS Walk Philly has become a successful fundraiser and community event that not only raises money for HIV and AIDS research and support, but also brings a sense of spirit and purpose to the city of brotherly love. This year the walk raised funds totaling $425,000.00, a 14% percent increase from the 2007 AIDS Walk Philly. This money will be used to support HIV prevention education, public awareness and HIV care services here in the Greater Philadelphia region.

AIDS Walk Philly 2008 displayed several panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt. A powerful tool for raising awareness about HIV/AIDS, the Quilt is the largest ongoing community arts project in the world. Each of the more than 44,000 colorful panels that make up the Quilt memorializes the life of a person lost to AIDS. The AIDS Memorial Quilt display was sponsored by PECO.

The event, which was presented by Merck, was also sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, PECO, Walgreens, NBC10, and Philadelphia Gay News. In 1987, volunteers from Philadelphia’s lesbian and gay community center decided to organize a walk-a-thon to support area AIDS agencies and raise public awareness about the disease. The Delaware Valley’s first AIDS Walk had about 300 participants and raised $33,000. Since then, thousands of walkers have gathered each year to participate in the region’s largest annual HIV/AIDS fundraising event, and more than $13.7 million has been raised for the cause.

Close to 15,000 Philadelphians made the 22nd Annual AIDS Walk a huge success

Close to 15,000 Philadelphians made the 22nd Annual AIDS Walk a huge success

In August 2008, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released shocking new figures about the status of HIV/AIDS in the United States. AIDS remains the leading cause of death among African American women aged 25-34, and is the second leading cause of death among African American men aged 35-44. African Americans, while comprising only 13% of the US population, accounted for 45% of the new HIV infections in 2006. 80% of the most recent diagnoses of AIDS cases in the Philadelphia region are among African Americans (69.6%) and Latinos (9.9%).

Thirty thousand of Philadelphia’s friends, family, and neighbors live with HIV. Today, more than a million people in the U.S. are living with HIV/AIDS, and it is estimated another 55,000 will become infected this year — a rate that has not decreased in the past 15 years. Every 9 minutes, someone becomes infected with HIV in the U.S. Every 15 minutes, someone dies.

Individuals made a difference in the fight against AIDS by getting sponsors, making a donation, and joining with thousands of others on October 19 for AIDS Walk Philly. These efforts supported direct care services, prevention and education, counseling and testing, medical care, and public awareness efforts right here in this community. Additional information is available at www.aidswalkphilly.org or 215-731-WALK. Contributions for AIDS Walk Philly will be accepted until the end of the year.

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