Los Angeles, Oct. 20, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today AIDS Walk Los Angeles held its 35th annual walk that raised vital funds that help to build support and awareness of the continuing need to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Ten thousand participants, volunteers and sponsors raised nearly $1.6 million. Individuals are able to increase that amount by donating before November 15, 2019.
This year’s AIDS Walk Los Angeles was the first to be managed in-house by APLA Health, which has been the beneficiary of the walk since its inception. The theme for 2019 is “AIDS Has Met Its March,” which calls upon participants to continue the fight in its efforts to make AIDS history.
“Between our first AIDS Walk in 1985 and today, we have seen a lot of progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Right now, we have the very real possibility to bring down the number of new infections because of resources like PrEP and educational tools like U=U,” said Craig E. Thompson, CEO of APLA Health. “AIDS Walk LA continues to bring HIV and AIDS to the forefront and raise awareness of its effects on communities in Los Angeles County—the second largest epidemic in the United States. AIDS Walk also helps to raise vital funds that keep people living with HIV in support programs, and increase outreach for our HIV prevention programs.
We know that medical care and education will help stop this disease.”
Elected officials, celebrity guests and VIPs included U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, State Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg, State Senator María Elena Durazo, State Senator Anthony Portantino, State Assembly member Mike Gipson, California Assembly member Adrin Nazarian, Los Angeles City Council member Paul Krekorian, Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin, City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works President Kevin James, West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico, West Hollywood Mayor pro tempore Lindsey Horvath, Jai Rodriguez, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy/Channel Q; Dales Soules, Orange is the New Black; Garrett Clayton, Teen Beach Movie; Zoe Perry, Young Sheldon; Lesley-Ann Brandt, Lucifer; Jake Borelli and Alex Blue Davis, Grey’s Anatomy; Zuri Adele, Tommy Martinez, Josh Pence, and Emma Hunton, Good Trouble; Jake Choi, Single Parents; Ellen Leyva and Karl Schmid, ABC7; Mikalah Gordon, Channel Q Radio; and Frenchie Davis, American Broadway performer and singer.
Following the VIP event, walkers gathered at the steps of Los Angeles City Hall for a warm-up led by GROOV3, a Los Angeles-based dance workout company. The opening ceremony featured guest speakers, including Jai Rodriguez from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Channel Q, followed by Kai Smith, APLA Health program coordinator for youth HIV prevention and Carlos Aguas-Pinzon, APLA Health patient navigator.
“At APLA Health we know that medical care and education are the best tools we have to stop the more than 1,600 new HIV infections per year in Los Angeles County,” said Smith.
“We can end the HIV epidemic here by providing people the resources and tools they need to keep themselves protected from contracting the virus. One way is with APLA Health’s free, nonjudgmental HIV testing and access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)—sometimes for almost no cost—to prevent the virus from spreading.”
“Infections disproportionately impact communities of color and our transgender sisters. With the funds raised at AIDS Walk Los Angeles, we are able to continue our work to stop new HIV infections and support those living with HIV,” added Aguas-Pinzon. “We can’t fight this alone and we are proud of you—our friends, families, advocates and allies who have joined us today at AIDS Walk Los Angeles to make sure that we prove that AIDS has met its MARCH!”
By 10 a.m., walkers made their way through a four-mile loop around downtown Los Angeles back to the steps of Los Angeles City Hall where they were welcomed by The Red Hot Band rocking the stage with Ru Paul Drag Race All Stars Winner Trinity the Tuck, along with Silky Nutmeg Ganache and Misty Violet. The post-walk show continued with street performances by stilt walkers and acrobats, a Kids Zone and many more family-friendly activities and attractions.
The 35th AIDS Walk Los Angeles was made possible by generous sponsors. Premier sponsors with a donation of $100k+ included Delta Air Lines, Gilead Sciences, Inc. and Paul Hastings. Grand sponsors with a donation of $50k+ included ABC7, Latham & Watkins, Paramount Studios and Quest Diagnostics. Principal sponsors with a donation of $25k+ included Macy’s, Inc., McDermott Will & Emery, PepsiCo, ViiV Healthcare, Walgreens; Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions; and Wells Fargo.
Since 1985, hundreds of thousands of walkers and supporters have raised over $88 million in the fight against HIV/AIDS. These funds remain a vital lifeline to sustain APLA Health as well as other HIV/AIDS health and support organization beneficiaries.
Editor’s note: Photos are available via Getty Images.
Photo credit: Randy Shropshire with Getty Images.
About AIDS Walk Los Angeles: Since 1985, AIDS Walk Los Angeles has drawn hundreds of thousands of supporters to walk, and millions more to donate, raising more than $88 million to combat HIV and AIDS. The funds raised at the event remain a vital lifeline that sustains APLA Health’s care, prevention, and advocacy programs for those living with HIV in Los Angeles County. Proceeds also benefit more than 20 other HIV/AIDS service organizations that are able to participate and raise funds through the Community Coalition Initiative (CCI). For more information, visit aidswalkLA.org.
About APLA Health: APLA Health’s mission is to achieve healthcare equity and promote wellbeing for the LGBT and other underserved communities and people living with and affected by HIV. We remain committed to ending the epidemic in our lifetimes. We are a nonprofit, federally qualified health center serving more than 15,000 people annually. We provide 20 different services from 16 locations throughout Los Angeles County, including: medical, dental, and mental healthcare; HIV specialty care, PrEP counseling and management; health education and HIV prevention; and STD screening and treatment. For people living with HIV, we offer housing support; benefits counseling; home healthcare; and the Vance North Necessities of Life Program food pantries; among several other critically needed services. Additionally, we are leaders in advocating for policy and legislation that positively impacts the LGBT and HIV communities and conduct community-based research on issues affecting the communities we serve. For more information, please visit us at aplahealth.org.
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Alex Medina APLA Health 213.201.1521 firstname.lastname@example.org