In 2015, 236 people in Alberta tested positive for HIV and that is who the AIDs Walk in Grande Prairie is for.
Executive Director of HIV North Society Melissa Byers explains that although the walk held on September 17th is about the people living with HIV, it is much more than that too.
“We run a woman’s drop in program so some of the funds may go to purchasing meals for the program or feminine hygiene products which some of our street engaged women can’t afford. We also put some of the funds towards an LGBTQ program which is a once a week program.”
There will also be inter-programming support committed to with the money as well.
She says education about the virus and about how to get tested is very important.
“We do have high rates of HIV in Northern Alberta. We do like focus on prevention of HIV and the awareness piece. Although we do support some people living with the virus, we do have a population that is sexually active and engaged in risky drug use. Those are the people we also try and target.”
The walk will take place next Saturday from 4:00 pm at the Muskoseepi Ampitheatre. Byers says this year is less about fundraising and more about community engagement and awareness. The Peace River event is being held tomorrow as well.
HIV North Society covers up to the North West Territories but each event funds projects in their own community.
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