Florida AIDS Walk Raises Over $460,000 for Lifesaving Services

Thursday, April 1, 2010 General News
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Fund Pledges Pass Last Year by More than $100K; Funds Benefit AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Broward House, SunServe, Children's Diagnostic and Treatment

Center, and the Pride Center at Equality Park.

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., April 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Thousands of dedicated individuals from across the state helped raise nearly

half a million dollars for crucial lifesaving HIV/AIDS services in South Florida on Sunday March 28th by joining together to participate in the lively Florida AIDS Walk 2010. The Walk, which started and ended at Huizenga Plaza in Ft. Lauderdale, was a 10k walk (optional 5k) fundraiser to raise awareness about and help reverse the continuing epidemic of HIV/AIDS in South Florida. 

"I am honored to report that despite difficult times facing both the Florida and national economies, thousands of participants in Florida AIDS Walk raised over $460,000 for lifesaving AIDS care and services—more than $100,000 more than the total of last year's Walk," said Michael Kahane, Bureau Chief for AHF's Southern Region. "Thanks to all of those who helped us far surpass our goal with this successful event. I'm deeply inspired by all participants in the Florida AIDS Walk who have committed themselves to fighting for people living with HIV/AIDS and preventing new infections through education and outreach."

This year's Walk featured a special appearance by Mrs. Jeanne White-Ginder, whose son, Ryan White, was diagnosed with AIDS in 1984 at the age of 13.  Ryan and his mother fought for his right to attend school, gaining international attention. Ryan was featured on countless television shows and magazine covers and was the subject of a television movie about his life. Ryan White died on April 8, 1990, at the age of 18, just a few months before Congress passed the federal AIDS funding bill that bears his name-the Ryan White CARE (Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency) Act.

Featured performers at the Opening Ceremonies included Tracy St. George from 97.9 WRMF, the Ft. Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus and DJ Scott Mann.

Benefiting AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), Broward House, SunServe, Children's Diagnostic and Treatment Center and the Pride Center at Equality Park, one hundred percent of proceeds raised by Florida AIDS Walk 2010 will go toward the expansion of HIV/AIDS testing, education and prevention initiatives in South Florida, and throughout the state.  It will also support: GLBT education, advocacy and services; specialized services meeting the needs of the economically disadvantaged, marginalized youth, seniors and people's of differing abilities; specialized, comprehensive care of children and youth with HIV/AIDS; and improving the lives of individuals living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS.

Free HIV testing was available to all attendees at the Walk, offered out of two of AHF's mobile HIV testing units. In a lead up to the Walk on Sunday, AHF conducted a 15-city, cross-state HIV Mobile Testing Tour throughout Florida throughout the month of March. This testing tour launched simultaneously from opposite ends of the state: one testing van began in Pensacola in the Northwest; while the other started Key West in the Southeast. AHF's new Magic Johnson "Test Florida" HIV mobile testing unit and its Positive Healthcare mobile medical clinic each made their way through Florida offering free testing services.  The two mobile testing units reunited on Sunday at Huizenga Plaza to offer free HIV testing at the Walk.

"AHF was pleased to join with people from across the state at this year's Florida AIDS Walk to bring a renewed sense of urgency and awareness to the community and help turn the tide of Florida's AIDS crisis," added AHF's Kahane.  "We were especially pleased to have the AHF/Magic Johnson Testing Unit at this year's Walk, as it was purchased in part with funds raised by Florida AIDS Walk 2009."

According to statistics released by the Florida Department of Health, Florida ranked third among states in the number of reported AIDS cases in 2008 with 3,960 cases.  Florida also ranked third among the 38 states that reported HIV infection in 2008, with 5,165 cases. Approximately 1,039,000-1,185,000 persons are living with HIV infection in the U.S. Florida has consistently reported 10-12% of the national AIDS morbidity and currently accounts for 11% of all persons living with AIDS in the U.S. The Department of Health now estimates that approximately 125,000 persons, or roughly 11.7% of the national total, are currently living with HIV infection in Florida as of the end of 2007.

Principal and major sponsors of the Florida AIDS Walk 2010 are HotSpots! Magazine, Latino Boys Magazine, Edge (edgeonthenet.com), Mark's List, Sidelines Sports Bar, 97.9 FM WRMF, the Sun-Sentinel, Volunteer Broward, Cardinal Health, Bill's Wilton Manors, Comcast, Georgie's Alibi Wilton Manors and Rosie's Bar and Grill.

About AHF

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 130,000 individuals in 23 countries worldwide in the U.S., Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. Additional information is available at www.aidshealth.org

In Florida, AIDS Healthcare Foundation serves more than 15,000 people living with HIV/AIDS through a variety of programs, including Positive Healthcare (a statewide disease management program), Positive Healthcare Managed Care, testing and prevention programs, healthcare centers in Jacksonville, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, and AHF Pharmacies.  AHF's Out of the Closet Thrift Stores in Wilton Manors and Miami at Biscayne and 29th offers free HIV testing and treatment referral through an AHF Pharmacy built adjacent to the store.

SOURCE AIDS Healthcare Foundation

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