For the 27th year, walkers and runners will raise money — and consciousness — about people living with HIV and AIDS at the 2013 AIDS Walk Washington, held Oct. 26.
The event is a fundraising walk and 5-K race that benefits Whitman-Walker Health, a non-profit, community-based health organization which provides high quality comprehensive and accessible health care to those infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS.
To get an idea as to how AIDS/HIV has impacted the DC area, here’s an excerpt of an editorial Johnathan Capehart in the Washington Post, wrote last year.
…According to the latest report from the city’s department of health, “14,465 residents of the District of Columbia or 2.7% of the population is living with HIV.” The study showed a reduction in the number of newly diagnosed HIV cases, “from 853 cases in 2009 to 835 cases in 2010.” But it hastens to add that “there has been a 24% reduction from 1,103 cases in 2006.” There has been a 72 percent drop in new HIV cases among IV drug users. The number of new AIDS cases fell by 32 percent between 2006 and 2010. And no child has been born with HIV in the District since 2009….
The District chalks up its glimmers of good news to vast improvements in how the Department of Health’s HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration tracks HIV/AIDS cases, gets people tested and gets them into care….
Still, there is a limit to the good news. Just as with the national epidemic, African Americans are bearing the brunt of this disease in Washington.
- Overall, blacks make up 48.4 percent of the population over the age of 12 in DC, but they account for 75.4 percent of those living with HIV.
- Black men are 46 percent of the District’s male population, but they account for 68.9 percent of those living with HIV.
- Black women are 50.5 percent of all females in the District, but are 92.4 percent of the living with HIV cases.
- And while there was a 31 percent reduction in new HIV diagnoses among whites between 2006 and 2010, there was about a 20 percent increase in such diagnoses among blacks.
- The fastest growing rates of infection are among African-American women and young gay or bisexual Black men.
The National HIV/AIDS Strategy developed at Obama’s urging and released in 2010 has three goals: reduce HIV transmission, increase access to care, and reduce HIV-related health disparities. In order to achieve the first goal, Obama states, “Stopping HIV transmission requires that we focus more intently on the groups and communities where the most cases of new infections are occurring” (source)
The AIDS Walk Washington is just one part of a much larger movement to save and improve the quality of life and accessibility to quality healthcare for those who live with HIV/AIDS, as well as to prevent the disease from spreading, and ultimately find a cure.
This year, AIDS Walk Washington has a new route.
Source: nbcwashington.com; washingtonpost.com & AIDSWalkWashington.org