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  WINDY CITY TIMES

2018 AIDS Run & Walk Chicago Encourages Community to "Live True. Be You."
2018-08-21

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CHICAGO — On Sunday, Sept. 23, HIV advocates from across Chicago will live true at the 2018 AIDS Run & Walk Chicago. Held at Soldier Field, the 17th annual event will raise awareness and funds for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago( AFC ) and 34 CommunityDirect partners, with proceeds benefiting programs and services improving the lives of Chicagoans living with and vulnerable to HIV.

Approximately, 2,500 participants gathered last year to participate in one of the city's most vibrant annual runs and walks. This year's event will mobilize the community under the theme "Live true. Be you."

"When individuals live authentically and are encouraged to share their truth and stories, it fosters a sense of community, understanding and acceptance," explains Dustin Erikstrup, AFC's Senior Manager of Special Events. "In this unpredictable political climate, it is important to live openly, unapologetically and free from stigma. AIDS Run & Walk Chicago provides that safe place for participants to express themselves freely."

AFC isn't the only beneficiary of this event; 34 community organizations serving Chicago's South, West and North sides, as well as surrounding counties, are beneficiaries of the funds raised at AIDS Run & Walk Chicago as part of the CommunityDirect program. To kick off the race's fundraising efforts, each participating organization will be entering their own team into the 5K walk or the 5K and 10K runs. Many CommunityDirect partners have been a part of AIDS Run & Walk Chicago for a number of years, which provides many opportunities for organizations to participate.

Recently, AFC, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Chicago Department of Public Health, and other statewide partners launched the planning phase for the Getting to Zero Illinois ( GTZ-IL ) campaign. The goal of this state-wide joint initiative is to end the HIV epidemic in Illinois by 2030 through partnerships with community-based organizations, health care providers, local government agencies and local members of the Illinois' HIV community. If Illinois increases current rates of PrEP ( a daily prevention pill that is up to 99 percent effective when taken consistently and correctly ) and HIV treatment substantially, Illinois can reach fewer than 100 new HIV cases per year. The epidemic will then be unable to sustain itself, reaching, "functional zero."

Approximately 43,500 Illinoisans are living with HIV, and AIDS Run & Walk Chicago provides the perfect opportunity to raise money to support those in the community and help end the stigma around HIV.

Since its 2001 acquisition by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the event has netted more than $5 million to battle the epidemic. For more information or to participate, visit aidsrunwalk.org or call 312-334-0946.

2018 CommunityDirect Partners

AIDS Foundation of Chicago

Loyola University Medical Center

Agape Missions

Lurie Children's SID

Alexian Brothers Housing and Health Alliance

Men & Women In Prison Ministries

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago

Michael Reese Research & Education Foundation

Center on Halsted

Midwest AIDS Training + Education Center ( MATEC )

Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus

New Age Services

Chicago Center for HIV Elimination

Night Ministry

Dance for Life

Open Door Clinic

Chicago House & Social Service Agency

Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative ( PACPI )

Chicago Recovery Alliance

Pride Action Tank

Chicago Women's AIDS Project

Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago.

Children's Home & AID

Puerto Rican Cultural Center - Vida/SIDA

CORE Foundation

Specialized Assistance Services Inc.

Erie Family Health

Season of Concern

Heartland Alliance

Sinai Health System

Howard Brown Health Center

UI Health Community Clinic Network ( UCCN )

Legal Council for Health Justice

Youth Outlook

From a news release

About AFC:

The AIDS Foundation of Chicago mobilizes communities to create equity and justice for people living with and vulnerable to HIV and related chronic diseases. AFC envisions a world in which people living with HIV and related chronic diseases will thrive, and new HIV infections will be rare. Learn more at aidschicago.org .


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