It’s that time of year again– time to solicit my friends and co-workers for their hard earned cash to sponsor me for AIDS Walk San Francisco.
AIDS Walk SF helps raise money to support the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and many other San Francisco Bay Area AIDS service organizations. Founded in 1982 and one of the oldest AIDS service organizations in the country, SFAF works not just to educate, but to provide comprehensive services for those living with HIV/AIDS and to aggressively pursue public policy that will address the growing epidemic at both the federal and state levels. Last year, AIDS Walk SF raised over three million dollars to support SFAF and 36 other organizations.
With new drug cocktail treatments, AIDS may feel like it has become a “manageable” disease, but in 2003, the rate of HIV infection in the United States actually went up and of an estimated 900,000 people living with HIV in the US, one-third of them do not even know they are infected. And yet, we grow complacent.
And when we look at the picture worldwide, the picture is even bleaker. Ninety-five percent of people who are infected with HIV live in developing companies where antiretroviral therapy is not as accessible. Approximately half of the people who become infected with HIV are infected before they turn 25 and will die before they turn 35. By the end of 2001, AIDS had left behind a cumulative total of 14 million orphans. And yet, we grow complacent.
Last year, my friends and co-workers helped me raise over $600 in donations. Please join me again this year to help change the course of the epidemic. Walk. Donate. Spread the word. After over twenty years since the first cases of the disease among gay men in California and New York, so many of us have been affected by the disease in one way or another. How many of us know at least one person who is living with HIV/AIDS? How many of us have lost a loved one to this epidemic? Who do you walk for?
If you’re a Stanford community member (faculty, staff, students, and alumni):