FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: John Beckley, Director of Development & Marketing
100 W. 10th Street, Suite 315
Wilmington, DE 19801
Phone: 302.690.6000 (cell)
Date: August 12, 2021
WILMINGTON, DELAWARE (August 10, 2021) – AIDS Delaware and the Delaware HIV Consortium once again jointly present AIDS Walk Delaware, taking place in person on Saturday, September 18, 2021, with walkers stepping off at 10 a.m.
This year’s walk celebrates 35 years of AIDS Walks in Delaware, which for nearly two decades have taken place in both Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach. Each city’s walk takes place in Brandywine Park and Grove Park, respectively.
Wilmington and Rehoboth Beach walkers, and anyone who simply wants to fundraise without attending in person, are invited to visit AIDSWalkDelaware.org to register, donate and collect donations. It is free to walk, and walkers meeting a $35 goal receive a commemorative t-shirt. Anyone with a Facebook account can encourage walkers with cheerful comments on their fundraising pages.
The Walk strives to advance HIV awareness, reduce stigma, and endorse HIV-informed community health for all Delawareans.
AIDS Walk Delaware is the state’s largest HIV/AIDS fundraising and awareness event and has historically attracted over 600 participants and volunteers, raising nearly $80,000. Funds support, free HIV testing, HIV-specific mental health counseling, education and prevention programs, housing services and case management services.
Currently there are 3,629 people in Delaware living with HIV. Statistically, 63% are People of Color; 48% are LGBTQ+ identifying; average age is 55 years old and approx. 54% are living at or below the poverty line.
“Our case managers have confirmed that COVID-19 has created additional burdens for people living with HIV, people whose immune systems can be especially vulnerable,” said John Beckley, Director of Development and Marketing for AIDS Delaware. “Many are struggling with isolation, depression and anxiety. This year, we walk with those folks in our hearts.”
A 2021 Delaware survey of people living with HIV uncovered that food insecurity, loss of access to transportation and unstable housing have added to people’s concerns. 11% of people surveyed had moved in with others as a result of pandemic economic impacts, with others navigating homelessness. Closed libraries limited people’s ability to access the internet for job searches and other services.
Medically, the survey results are worrisome. Seven percent of people surveyed had reported receiving positive COVID-19 diagnoses. 13% of those surveyed reported missing medication doses (HIV medications and others) and 20% reported missing or delaying routine HIV testing during the pandemic, due to transportation and communication challenges.
As of 2019, UNAIDS data showed that the number of people worldwide living with HIV was on the rise, but the number of new annual HIV infections had fallen, as had those dying from the illness. This was attributed mainly to pre-exposure prophylaxis, known as PrEP, which can drastically reduce the risk of contracting the virus if one has access to it.
For these reasons, AIDS Walk Delaware is more important than ever. For people who’ve been living with compromised health for a long time. People who have just learned they are HIV-positive. People who love someone who is HIV-positive. People for whom the best and broadest prevention efforts still elude them.
Walk funds also benefit other HIV service organizations, including Ministry of Caring, Beautiful Gate Outreach Center, Latin American Community Center, William J. Holloway Community Program and CAMP Rehoboth.
Walk check-in begins at 9 a.m. in Wilmington, at Brandywine Park, 1080 North Park Drive, and in Rehoboth Beach, Grove Park at Columbia Avenue and Grove Street. Walkers are encouraged to visit the Knowledge Neighborhood at their respective park before and after walking. Dogs are welcome at both locations. Walkers are asked to follow CDC and State guidelines and safety protocols, and at the time of this release, masks are encouraged, but not required.
AIDS Walk Delaware 2021 is courtesy of Greenhill Pharmacy.
For more information, visit AIDSWalkDelaware.org, or contact John Beckley (firstname.lastname@example.org; 302.652.6776, x221) for Wilmington or JulieAnne Cross (email@example.com; 302.588.3266) for Rehoboth Beach.
About the Partners:
AIDS Delaware’s mission is to eliminate the spread and stigma of HIV/AIDS, improve the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS, and promote community health through comprehensive and culturally-sensitive services, education programs, and advocacy. AIDS Delaware was the state’s first and largest AIDS Service Organization founded in 1984 by a group of concerned volunteer activists addressing the needs of the state’s emerging AIDS community. For over 30 years, AIDS Delaware has become Delaware’s premier ASO working for the health of the human family.
We are the first nonprofit ASO in Delaware to initiate and practice Trauma-Informed Care and organizational development for the benefit of clients, staff, and the community.
Services include free, confidential HIV testing; case management/client services; education/outreach programs; pharmacy services; food and personal products pantry; drug and alcohol and mental health counseling.
AIDS Delaware, 100 W. 10th Street, Suite 315, Wilmington, DE 19801, 302.652.6776, aidsdelaware.org
Now in its thirtieth year of service, the Delaware HIV Consortium has served as the State’s primary administrator of supportive services provided through the Ryan White CARE Act and funding from the Centers for Disease Control.
By working collaboratively with community partners and by providing direct services itself through offices in Wilmington and Milford, Delaware, the Consortium ensures that Delawareans living with HIV/AIDS have access to HIV case management, transportation assistance, a housing assistance program, emergency financial assistance, HIV community planning, outreach, education, testing and linkage to care, and advocacy.
The Consortium also provides subcontracted services to the Delaware Division of Public Health, administering programs such as a HIV prevention education campaign, a data to care re-engagement program, a mail order condom distribution program, and a PrEP Navigation program.
Delaware HIV Consortium, 100 W. 10th Street, Suite 315, Wilmington, DE 19801, 302.654.5471, delawarehiv.org