Thank you so much, everyone who participated in AIDS Walk Portland 2012! Thanks to you, we drew over 10,000 people to the walk and raised $475,000, surpassing our goal by an astounding $75,000! We owe it all to the people who walked, raised money, and spread the word to their friends, coworkers, and family. We are grateful, too, to the scores of volunteers who helped set up the walk, run registration, act as sentinels along the walk's route, and more.
What makes this year particularly special is that we are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel in the fight against HIV and AIDS. The National Institutes of Health released a report showing that people who are HIV positive and take their medication have reduced the likelihood that they'll transmit the virus to their sexual partners by 96%. This means that we can virtually stop HIV in its tracks if we can test everyone and get those who are HIV positive on medication.
The funds you helped us raise at AIDS Walk will go a long way toward getting the word out about the need to know your HIV status. We'll continue to offer free, rapid HIV tests at Pivot in downtown Portland for gay and bisexual men, and we'll offer rapid HIV tests in our office to anyone who requests one, for a suggested donation. (No one will be turned away, however.) Those who test positive will quickly be linked with any physical and emotional support they require. It only takes half an hour, and not even a blood draw, to know your HIV status. As always, we'll keep spreading the word about how to protect ourselves and those we love from HIV, and we'll work to remove the stigma from discussing it.
Again, thank you for making this the best AIDS Walk yet!
On Sunday, October 2nd, Cascade AIDS Project will hold its 25th AIDS Walk in downtown Portland, Oregon. We've been gearing up for this walk for months now, and our goal is to raise $400,000 and draw over 11,000 to Pioneer Courthouse Square for the 2.5-mile walk through downtown, Old Town, and the Pearl District. We hope you will join us!
Cascade AIDS Project started AIDS Walk Portland as a way to raise awareness of HIV and to raise money to pursue its mission of preventing new HIV infections, caring for and empowering people affected and infected by HIV, and eliminating HIV/AIDS-related stigma.
Walking with us is a way to remind yourself and others that although HIV may not be much in the media, it has NOT gone away. In fact, more people living with HIV/AIDS today than ever before. Shockingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one in five people with the virus doesn't even know he or she has it. AIDS Walk's goal is to remind people that the battle against HIV and AIDS hasn't ended. We all should get tested and know our HIV status. All of us who are sexually active need to know how to protect ourselves and the people we love. Last but not least, people living with HIV/AIDS should be loved and supported, not feared.
So far, we've raised over $90,000 in sponsorships for AIDS Walk, and new teams and walkers are registering every day. If you're in the Portland area, please stop by www.aidwalkportland.org to find out about events leading up to AIDS Walk, such as our DJ contest at Cuda on Thursday, September 8th, or the Bar Crawl to raise funds for AIDS Walk on Saturday, September 10th.
And, of course, be sure to join us at 9 am on Sunday, October 2nd, for music, presentations, free breakfast, and AIDS Walk! With your help, we can beat this virus.
For nearly thirteen years, the incidence of new cases of HIV in Oregon hasn't budged. We're fortunate in that it hasn't risen, especially since the number of people living with HIV and AIDS rises about 300 annually, but we're eager to see the number of new HIV cases each year go down.
Since there's no cure yet for HIV, prevention and education are our best weapons against the epidemic. That, and helping those who are already HIV-positive, is at the heart of our mission to prevent HIV infections, support and empower people affected and infected by HIV/AIDS, and eliminate HIV/AIDS-related stigma. AIDS Walk Portland raises a good portion of the funds we need to carry out this mission. We hope we can count on you to join us.
We have good news: as of June 1, 2011, we've raised $72,000 in sponsorship for AIDS Walk Portland 2011! This is most we've ever raised this early. Genentech is AIDS Walk Portland 2011's lead sponsor, and this is the first year of a five-year pledge by Nike to contribute $10,000 for each AIDS Walk. We are incredibly grateful for their--and your--support.
More good news: we've launched a new website for AIDS Walk Portland. Go to www.aidswalkportland.org and you'll see how easy it is to sign up for the walk, join or create a team, create your own webpage, and post it all to Facebook and other social networking sites. The website is up and running now, and we encourage you to sign up early.
Plus, we'll be listing fun, pre-walk events that will take place over the summer. You can sign up at the AIDS Walk website to get our newsletter so you don't miss out!