Boston, MA (PRWEB) May 22, 2010
AIDS Action Committee, Inc. (AAC), New England’s largest AIDS service organization will hold the 25th AIDS Walk Boston , Boston’s annual charity walk benefiting AAC. To mark the 25-year milestone, AAC is honoring 25 individuals (listed below) whose contributions to the fight against AIDS over the last two-and-a-half decades have been invaluable.
Despite the progress of the last 25 years, much work remains. In March, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control released statistics showing that men who have sex with men are 44 times more likely to contract HIV than other men. To date, 30,537 Massachusetts residents have been diagnosed with HIV and there are approximately 600 new infections each year. It is estimated that 21 percent of those infected with HIV are unaware of their status. Gay and bi men (35%) and injection drug users (24%) still account for the largest proportions of HIV infections in the state.
“Since 1999, rates of HIV infection in the Commonwealth have declined by half,” Haag said. “That’s terrific news, but we need to get the infection rate to zero. We need to have honest conversations about HIV status. We need to arm people with the tools and language that will help them stay safe. And we need to keep working to eliminate the shame and stigma that comes with an HIV/AIDS diagnosis.”
AIDS Walk Boston draws 10,000-15,000 participants; WCVB-TV StormTeam 5 meteorologist David Brown will emcee the event, which also includes a Wellness Festival and the Larry Kessler 5K run.
Building upon innovations put in place for last year’s Walk, participants have multiple options for supporting and promoting the walk via social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Donors can also contribute $10 simply by texting WALK to 27722 from their cell phones.
Macy’s Foundation is the Presenting Sponsor of this year’s Walk, marking the fourth year that Macy’s has partnered with the AIDS Action Committee to highlight the continuing needs of those with HIV and AIDS. Other corporate sponsors include Bruegger’s Bagels, Whole Foods, EMD Serono, Bristol Myers Squibb, Partners HealthCare, Stop & Shop, the TJX Foundation, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Blue Man Group. Media sponsors include are WCVB-TV, Kiss 108, WFNX, Comcast, The Boston Phoenix, and El Planeta.
Profiles of the 25 people being honored at this year’s Walk can be found at http://www.aac.org/25Years. The list of those being honored follows:
Saturday, June 5, 2010: Reception for 25 AAC honorees from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mandarin Oriental Hotel followed by a candlelight vigil at 8:30 p.m. in Copley Square, outside Trinity Church.
Sunday, June 6, 2010: AIDS Walk Boston & Larry Kessler 5k Run registration starts at 7:30. 5k Run begins at 9:00 a.m. and Walk begins at 10:00 a.m.
ABOUT AIDS ACTION COMMITTEE
AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, Inc., (AAC), New England’s first and largest AIDS organization, is dedicated to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS by preventing new infections and optimizing the health of those already infected. AAC provides free confidential services to men and women already living with HIV/AIDS, as well as conducts extensive educational and prevention outreach to those at risk of infection. AAC runs the only statewide AIDS Hotline (1.800.235.2331), Hepatitis Hotline (1.888.443.4372) and Pharmacy Access Hotline (1.800.988.5209). All Hotlines offer support in Spanish and in English. Free and confidential rapid HIV testing and counseling is available at AAC’s downtown Boston location and at its MALE Center in Boston’s South End neighborhood. AAC also advocates for effective science-based prevention programs. More information is available at aac.org and at AAC’s blog at blog.aac.org.