We’ve made a lot of progress since those darks days at the beginning the AIDS epidemic. We’ve helped people come out of the shadows and seek treatment. We’ve developed a better understanding of the disease and treatment options. We’ve raised awareness about the importance of getting tested. And most recently, we’ve empowered people by creating a once daily pill, known as PrEP, that prevents the transmission of HIV. But our fight is far from over. In Ohio, approximately 24,000 people are currently living with HIV. 1 in 8 HIV-positive people don’t know their status, don’t receive HIV medical care, and can pass the virus on to others. If current trends continue, 1 in 6 gay or bi-sexual men will contract HIV in their lifetime. If that’s unacceptable to you, help continue the progress by signing up to participate in AIDS Walk Greater Dayton on April 22.
AIDS Walk Greater Dayton draws people from all walks of life with different connections to the cause. Teddy Thomas, a Daytonian who’s been a part of Equitas Health’s mpowerment program, Mu Crew since 2014, is looking forward to this year’s walk. “I walk because Mu Crew has helped me teach others about HIV awareness and safety. I want to be a part of creating a world where people aren’t afraid to talk about being HIV-positive. Participating in AIDS Walk Ohio helps me do that,” said Teddy. He also receives care at their Dayton Medical Center and Pharmacy and is thankful for the social services they provide. “Their housing assistance program allowed me to stay in Ohio and avoid homelessness. I would have a very different life if it weren’t for Equitas Health,” said Teddy. Teddy has achieved “Grand Walker” status by raising at least $1,000 to support HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. This is his second year achieving that milestone and he hopes to defend his title as the top fundraiser in Dayton again this year.
Whether you walk in memory of someone who’s passed, in celebration of someone who’s survived, or in solidarity with those affected or at-risk of HIV, your participation is necessary to continue making progress until one day when we have a cure.
AIDS Walk Greater Dayton takes place Saturday, April 22 at its new location at Fifth Third Field Plaza. Registration starts at 10am. Sign up at aidswalkohio.com to participate in the 1-mile stroll, 5K walk or run, or 20-mile bike ride. Come out and cheer people on as they return and enjoy music by DJ Dayna, food by the Drunken Waffle and the Wicked ‘Wich of Dayton, and craft beer from Warped Wing Brewery.
This post contributed by Alyssa Chenault, Communications Manager for Equitas Health.