After a wash-out last year, three of Sydney’s leading AIDS organisations are confident an inaugural charity walk in the Royal Botanic Gardens will raise much-needed awareness and funds next weekend.
ACON, the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation (BGF) and People Living With HIV/AIDS (NSW) hope up to 1,000 people turn out for the debut Sydney Walk for AIDS next Sunday.
The three groups adopted the event because of its success overseas and the continuing need for AIDS awareness 25 years since the first cases were reported among American gay men.
A recent Australian report showed HIV diagnoses had increased by 41 percent nationally in the past five years.
It’s important to bring people back to the fact that HIV is an ongoing reality in Australian society, PLWHA (NSW) executive officer Geoff Honnor told Sydney Star Observer.
HIV has certainly moved into a different place in the consciousness of gay men, and in terms of the broader community I think it’s pretty much evaporated altogether and become something that we see offshore on the evening news.
[Walk for AIDS] has been a concept that’s been widely used and very successful in the US and it hasn’t been done here before, so we thought it was worth a try.
Participants in the two-kilometre walk pay a $20 registration fee and can sign up as many sponsors as they want for the 26 November event.
Entertainment will include a performance by singer Naomi Palmer, and organisers will provide refreshments and sunscreen on the day. The walk will officially launch AIDS Awareness Week, leading to World AIDS Day on 1 December.
The three AIDS groups said they had not set a fundraising target for the walk, but hoped to raise as much money as possible. Proceeds will be shared between the organisations to fund HIV advocacy and care.
It will be a fun day and a great way to show support during AIDS Awareness Week in the lead-up to World AIDS Day, ACON president Adrian Lovney said.
The Walk for AIDS is on in the Royal Botanic Gardens on Sunday 26 November from 10am to noon. For more information or to register visit www.walkforaids.org.au or call 1800 651 011.