The AIDS Walk Philly 5K is the region’s largest HIV/AIDS awareness event of the year. The AIDS Walk is an annual charity walk to support local AIDS agencies and raise public awareness about the disease. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and breaks down a person’s immune system, making him or her unable to fight off illness and infection. There are over 30,000 people in the Philadelphia region living with HIV disease. 1 in 6 people with HIV don’t know that they have the disease, according to AIDS Walk Philly’s official organization page.
On Sunday October 18, over 250 students from Central High School met on the Philadelphia Art Museum steps. Many have personal connections or obligations to attend. Others are simply passionate in working to raise awareness and support the cause.
Ryan Chin (277) understood the magnitude of this issue, commenting, “AIDS has become such a huge issue in the youth of our society. Every year we become aware of this through the media and even through school. What motivated me was the huge community that was willing to come together and make the AIDS walk possible. It was truly amazing to see the amount of people come that day.”
Others had different convictions behind their attendance of the event. Louis Jiang (277) said, “Participating in walks like the AIDS walk helps to educate people in the community.”
While they may seem pointless to some people, walks are actually highly effective in spreading awareness and reaching a mass audience about their cause. Even if one has not participated, one will most likely know of a walk’s existence and objective. Other students simply want to show respect to those who suffer and have succumbed to the diseases.
“We’re taking time to pay attention and recognize the number of people who passed away from having AIDS,” Anna Liu (278) explained.
Emotional purposes aside, the AIDS walk serves a unique purpose to educate and inform people, especially young students. When asked what she thought set the AIDS walk apart from others, Alison Trinh (275) answered, “Sure, it may seem just like any other walk, but there is an underlying message that speaks out to the students. For example, free condoms. It’s a warning to students to be safe.”
Although there is sentimental baggage attached to the event, participants benefit in that they receive a hard lesson in the importance of preventative measures, such as receiving tests and practicing safe sex. “I hope to spread the message to the students…to be safe rather than sorry,” added Trinh.
Central students from all walks of life have joined together in this event with a multitude of convictions and obligations. AIDS is a very personal issue for many, and it is likely that a number of participants know people who have been affected by the business. Regardless, all have recognized the significance of AIDS and the monumental meaning behind the walk.
Jennifer Butler (278), Staff Writer
Anna Pugsley (276), Proofreading Editor