AIDSWALK to raise awareness Sunday
Every 13 minutes someone in the United States is infected with HIV.
Almost half of all new HIV infections worldwide occur in young people under the age of 24.
To raise awareness with people in this age group, the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation has done heavy University of Arizona recruitment for the 11th annual AIDSWALK - the largest AIDS fundraiser in Southern Arizona.
"We're all affected by the epidemic," said AIDSWALK Coordinator Lindsey Jones. "It's a big epidemic and has touched lots of lives."
The 10 km walk begins at the Rillito Downs near North First Avenue and East River Road. The route is along River to North Flowing Wells, then back to First.
Last year the 2,400 participants raised $204,000. The SAAF expects the same amount of walkers this year.
"It (number of participants) keeps rising," Jones said. "I think there's more awareness."
Every participant gets monetary pledges, Jones said. Whoever raises the most money will receive two round-trip tickets for anywhere in the continental United States, courtesy of American Airlines.
"Every dollar raised by walkers goes to services," Jones said.
SAAF will also have a booth with information on the disease.
Many UA organizations are going to be participating in the walk, including La Paz Residence Hall, Project Volunteer and the Woman's Resource Center.
Christina Hendrix, woman studies senior and co-director of the Women's Resource Center, participated last year in the walk and plans to participate this year.
"A lot of people carry signs with the names of people they knew who've died of AIDS," Hendrix said.
She added that the walk is a good way to get the word out about the disease.
Kate Schroll, sociology senior and co-director of the center, said about 10 members will be walking on Sunday.
"A lot of people don't necessarily know someone personally, but there's always a distant person or famous person whom you have admired who's died of AIDS," Schroll said. "It's important to get involved, especially from the university."