Friday, April 28, 2017

2017 AIDS Walk & Run Baltimore, May 7th

Written by  Bill Redmond-Palmer

Not yesterday’s epidemic: Baltimore’s infection rate is 7.5 times the U.S. average

The 2017 AIDS Walk & Run Baltimore, presented by Quest Diagnostics, is set for the Maryland Zoo on Sunday, May 7th, with the goal of raising $150,000 for Chase Brexton Health Care, to further expand its HIV testing, awareness, and care programs.

Baltimore’s rate of infection is 7.5 times higher than the national average, and the third highest rate of HIV diagnosis in the U.S., according to the CDC. HIV/AIDS is the fourth leading cause of death in the city of Baltimore, but at least one in six residents has not been tested for HIV. Baltimore City alone accounts for 41% of all new cases in Maryland. One in every five new HIV cases is an individual 13 to 24 years old.

“HIV and AIDS remain a major problem in Baltimore and a leading cause of death here,” said Sharon Cooper-Kerr, special events manager for Chase Brexton. “We urge people in the community to come out and walk or run – and support this critically important effort to raise funds to expand testing and treatment.”

The event takes place rain or shine. It starts and finishes at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, and registration includes a day at the zoo. Performer Tommie Ross is this year’s official AIDS Walk & Run ambassador, and a comprehensive health fair is set up at the end of the course, offering information, testing, and refreshments.

Participants can register to walk or run, or start a team and raise funds with their friends, at Baltimoreaidswalk.org. Volunteers are also needed – fill out the form here: Tinyurl.com/AIDSWalkVolunteer.

For the walk, you will take a stroll through the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, walking alongside the animals. The course takes you all around the zoo, the perfect occasion for children and adults of all ages. After the walk, you are invited to stay for the day and enjoy all that the zoo has to offer. The registration is $25 (or $10 for those 12 and under). Everyone is encouraged to raise a minimum of $100 in order to receive a commemorative event t-shirt. The three top fundraisers will earn special prizes.

The five kilometer run follows a pleasant 3.1 mile run through the zoo into Druid Hill Park, returning to cross the finish line at the zoo. Run registration is $25 ($10 for those 12 and under).

If you can’t be there May 7h, participate as a “Virtual Walker / Runner.” Registration is $40 and allows you to support the effort no matter where you are, and includes a commemorative event t-shirt by mail.

Last year, the event raised more than $87,000, which helped furnish two mobile HIV testing, education, and assistance vehicles for Chase Brexton. Despite a cold and rainy morning, more than 400 participants came to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore to walk, run, and volunteer.

“It was truly amazing to see so many people come out last year to support this cause, and we know this year is going to be even better,” said James Wilson, co-chair of the AIDS Walk & Run Baltimore. “We want you to get your friends together, start a team, and join us at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore to help bring an end to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in Baltimore.”

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