Whitman-Walker Health announced yesterday that after 27 years, AIDS Walk Washington will become The Walk to End HIV.
“This name change reflects a cataclysmic shift to what HIV is today – a chronic, manageable disease,” says Don Blanchon, Executive Director of Whitman-Walker Health. “Historically, the term AIDS was about a plague we had no answers for and almost certain death for those diagnosed. Thankfully, this has changed dramatically over the past three decades. Now, addressing the HIV epidemic is about caring for the health and well-being of the whole person. We also know that with increased testing and treatment we can prevent HIV infections. Changing the name of a signature D.C. event after nearly three decades is a way to focus attention on getting us to that ultimate finish line – providing care for all who are HIV-positive and getting to zero new infections.”
“From the time I started training to become a doctor in the late 1990s to now, the advances in HIV treatment, prevention, and delivery of care have been remarkable,” said Raymond Martins, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Whitman-Walker Health. “When we say that we are walking to end HIV, this is not just a pipe dream. Even without a cure or vaccine, through testing, early detection, and a comprehensive care plan, we can create an AIDS-free city and hopefully be moving towards ending HIV. We have the tools and we know how to do it. Now we need everyone’s participation and support to make it a reality.”
Registration for the 5k walk and official timed run opened today. The goal of the event, which will be held on Saturday, October 25, is to raise $1 million for Whitman-Walker Health and various community partners. The success of The Walk relies on the support of hundreds of volunteers, as well as the generosity of sponsors.
There are many ways to get involved in The Walk to End HIV. For the first time, The Walk will also be an official timed run. The most traditional way to participate is to register to walk or run. You can also participate by donating to a team. There were over 7,000 participants in 2013 and more than $800,000 dollars were raised.
The Walk to End HIV, formerly AIDS Walk Washington, will take place on October 25, 2014 and as in previous years will begin and end at Freedom Plaza (Pennsylvania Ave and 13th St, NW). Funds raised benefit the HIV programs and services of Whitman-Walker Health along with over 20 community partners who provide critical services in and around the D.C. Metropolitan area. Campaign creative elements for the Walk to End HIV were developed in consultation with Brand-Aid Creative. For more information on The Walk, visit www.walktoendhiv.org.