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.
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, along with multiple HIV based programs.
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. 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
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.