All three major metropolitan areas in Washington State join forces this month for the biggest show of force ever in the fight to End AIDS in our lifetime with this year’s END AIDS WALK. It’s taken almost 30 years, thousands of walked miles and millions of dollars raised but now Seattle’s Lifelong, Tacoma’s Pierce County AIDS Foundation (PCAF), and Spokane’s AIDS Network (SAN) are teaming up for massive fundraising, awareness raising and WALKING in an effort to finally end AIDS/HIV while providing vital services for people living with HIV and AIDS. Tacoma held their walk on September 12th, but Seattle and Spokane will march in unison on opposite sides of the state, this Saturday, September 26, 2015.
Historically AIDS Walks were held to honor lives lost by the disease and walk in hope for a cure. Times have changed over the past 30 years. Medical advances have changed our fight against HIV and AIDS. Today we care for the health and well-being of individuals living with the disease and help them live the fullest life possible. We also know that increased testing and treatment can prevent new infections, which is why we provide education and outreach to communities at greatest risk of infection. Changing the name of our walk is about celebrating the ultimate finish line—knowing that a day without new infections is near.
The timing of the name change coincides with Governor Inslee’s World AIDS Day, December 1, 2014 announcement of the End AIDS Washington campaign. End AIDS Washington is a partnership among community stakeholders working together to reduce new HIV infections by 50% 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. Reducing new infections by 50% is significant because below a certain threshold, a disease loses its grip on a population. This is the public health pathway to “end” absent a cure which may also be on the near (or nearer) horizon.
The notion of “ending AIDS” is not a false hope or a vague statement.
If we can treat it we can beat it, and science has proven that a person who is HIV positive with a suppressed viral load is highly unlikely to transmit the disease.
There are many ways to participate. You can register to walk, sponsor the event, host an information booth or just make a donation.
The Seattle walk begins and ends in Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park. Registration and packet pick up begins at 8am with the Walk starting at 10am and lasting to about 2:30pm. More info on how to register to actually walk, sponsor, host or donate is available HERE for the Seattle area.
For our friends on the East side of the state, the Spokane walk will have registration/packet pick up at 11 am with a start time of noon and the location is Riverfront Park. Go HERE for more info on signing up to walk/run, sponsor and donate in Spokane.