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Why they run for HIV/AIDS awareness — and why you should, too

How many reasons are there to join 3,500 other people in Sunday’s AIDS Run & Walk Chicago? Probably as many reasons as there are steps taken to run or walk 5 kilometers — or even 10 kilometers!

But the biggest reason is this: If you register to participate before 9 a.m. on Sept. 14, you can join 3,500 other runners, walkers and volunteers who are coming together from across the Chicago metropolitan area to say, “We stand with people living with HIV/AIDS.”

And they’re not only raising awareness — this year’s participants hope to raise $400,000 for 32 local health organizations that provide housing, care, case management, insurance assistance and advocacy in our state capitol for people living with HIV/AIDS.


If that’s not reason enough, here are three seasoned participants in AIDS Run & Walk Chicago who can tell you why they run:

“I run a lot of races, and the most important one for me is the AIDS Run & Walk. Last year’s race marked the tenth year of being HIV-positive. I was really emotional throughout the race because I kept thinking about where I was ten years ago and where I am today.” — Armando Ramirez

“It’s so important to end the stigma around HIV/AIDS out in the suburbs. I’m looking forward to bringing some visibility to the cause.” — Brad Setter

“Stigma against HIV/AIDS is still around. I run with AIDS Run & Walk Chicago to raise money and awareness to end the hurtful, negative views people have of the disease.” — Sacha Urban


Like a race, the fight to end AIDS isn’t over ‘till it’s over
But why run for HIV/AIDS? Isn’t that … an 80s thing? Hasn’t it been cured already?

In fact, the fight to end this epidemic is far from over. Right now, 25,000 Chicagoans live with HIV or AIDS, and one in five of those people don’t even know they’re HIV-positive.

We now have lifesaving medicine that can manage the disease and empower HIV-positive people to live long and healthy lives. There’s even a pill that can be taken every day by someone who’s HIV-negative that can prevent HIV infection upwards of 90 percent.


But in order to help vulnerable people get access to these life-changing medications, they need help from organizations like the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (which coordinates the event, along with Special Events Management) and the 31 other HIV/AIDS organizations that hope to raise $400,000 through AIDS Run & Walk Chicago.

All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other along Chicago’s Lake Shore Path on Sunday to help someone living with HIV/AIDS do the same.

Need more reasons to run? Follow #aidsrunwalkchicago on Instagram and Twitter to see why other people participate in this event. Can’t make it? Donate today to a friend at

See you there!


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