(Photo Credit: Carolinarain.org)

On the 25th anniversary of AIDS WALK Charlotte, participation will be safe, live-streamed, and encouraged. Dubbed “Step Up, Step Out,” the walk will take place on May 1. The fundraising goal of 2021 is $150,000 to provide assistance for those with HIV or at risk of contracting it. 

These funds will be allocated by the AIDS/HIV assistance organization RAIN. Offering prevention education, HIV/STI testing, PrEP programs, and support groups, RAIN, has specialized in the empowerment of “persons living with HIV and those at risk to be healthy and stigma free.” 

Those who are interested in participating are urged to post photos and videos of their experiences and involvement in the event. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #aidswalkclt when posting to social media. 

According to the AIDS WALK Charlotte website, “While HIV and AIDS have fallen out of the spotlight in recent years, the epidemic is far from over. An average of six new cases are reported every week in Mecklenburg County.” 

As of April 29, 369 people have signed up for the event. This is only a fraction of those affected by HIV or AIDS; as per the AIDS WALK Charlotte statistics. These numbers do not include platinum sponsors such as Bank of America, JScott Design, and Janssen. They also do not refer to local group participation, like contributing organizations Charlotte Pride Band and Charlotte Black Pride.

Important statistics to keep in mind, according to AIDS WALK Charlotte are as follows: “Mecklenburg County has the largest number of HIV cases and new diagnoses in North Carolina. Forty-nine percent of all HIV/AIDS diagnoses occur in the South. The CDC says that one in five new HIV infections occur in people younger than 25.”

For more details, visit carolinarain.org.

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