Hundreds gathered at West Hollywood Park Sunday morning to participate in the APLA Health’s 38th annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles, an event that not only raises funds, but also brings awareness about HIV and AIDS. The iconic walkathon returned to the City of West Hollywood for a second consecutive year after it moved to Los Angeles for several years (the City of West Hollywood hosted the annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles event from 2001 to 2015). The theme for this year is “Don’t Flake LA”.
Participants on Sunday directly helped people receive the support they need from APLA Health services. While ending HIV/AIDS remains their core focus, APLA Health has expanded their presence over the years to wherever there’s a need for greater health equity in LA County. APLA Health programs improve the lives of over 16,000 residents each year, and the AIDS Walk Los Angeles helps raise awareness for critical wellness programs including food pantries, older adult assistance, Transgender support, PrEP & PEP services and much more.
Mayor Sepi Shyne was joined by Mayor Pro-Tempore John Erickson, and council members Lauren Meister, John Heilman and Chelsea Byers.
“Thank you all for coming out to participate the AIDS Walk LA,” said Mayor Shyne. “We are so grateful to have re-partnered with APLA for the second year in a row, bringing AIDS Walk back to our city where you belong. An estimated 1.2 million people in the United States had HIV at the end of 2021. About 13 percent are HIV positive, but we are unaware that that equates to 153,500 people. 36,136 people received an HIV diagnosis in the United States. But here’s some good news. The annual number of new diagnoses decreased seven percent from 2017 to 2021. And that can likely be attributed to the use of PrEP, but also to your support for AIDS Walk LA and to those that support ending HIV AIDS for good.”
Other speakers included California State Assembly Member Rick Zbur, APLA Health Chief Executive Officer Craig E. Thompson, California Senator Anthony Portantino, and Chief Marketing & External Affairs Officer at APLA Health, Craig Bowers.
Participants began walking at roughly 11 a.m. This year’s Walk course was approximately 2 miles, which adds up to roughly 5,000 total steps. The Walk started and ended in West Hollywood Park.
AIDS Walk Los Angeles is the world’s first walk to fight HIV and AIDS and benefits APLA Health (formerly AIDS Project Los Angeles), which provides 20 different services including medical, dental, behavioral health and HIV specialty care; PrEP counseling and management (APLA Health PrEP stands for preexposure prophylaxis, the administration of antiviral drugs intended to prevent HIV/AIDS.); health education and HIV prevention; and screening and treatment for diseases spread through sex.
38 years ago, a group of fed-up activists, patients, advocates, and friends put their soles on the line to shake the government into action during the AIDS crisis. Since that first Walk in 1985, hundreds of thousands of walkers and their supporters have raised more than $92 million to combat HIV and AIDS. These funds are a vital lifeline that sustains APLA Health’s programs and services benefiting more than 18,000 individuals living in Los Angeles County, which continues to have the second largest number of people living with HIV in the country. For more information, please visit www.aidswalkla.org or email [email protected] or call or text (213) 201-9255.