I am very excited to be able this tear to do the AIDS Walk in Durham. A number of friends have put a team together, and I am looking forward to a wonderful community day raising money for a still very important cause in our LGBTQ community.

The walk takes place at Memorial Park in Oshawa on September 7. I reached out to Katie Nemak, Manager of Promotions & Community development, a the AIDS of Committee of Durham Region for a quick chat and to get you dear reader the info you need to participate.

Hi Katie. Let’s talk about the upcoming walk, I hear it’s a special occasion for ACDR, and you’re celebrating big with some fabulous stuff?

This year’s AIDS Walk is a big milestone, we’re celebrating our 20th Walk in Durham Region, and it’s amazing to think how far we’ve come in that time. Only a few short years before Durham’s first AIDS Walk, the disease was leading cause of deaths in the United States. Now many people are living long and healthy lives with HIV. Thanks to advancements in treatment, 91% of people who are living with HIV and on treatment maintain undetectable viral loads. We, as a community, have so much to be thankful for, and we think the AIDS Walk is a perfect opportunity to celebrate the advances that been made. This year’s AIDS Walk will feature live entertainment from local Durham musicians, free gourmet BBQ provided by BBQ World in Whitby, as well as a performance from ACDR’s newest staff member, the fabulous KeroPatra.

Is it too late to register a team? How does one go about that?

Absolutely not! The Walk is just under a month away, which leaves lots of time for you to sign up to participate. You can walk as an individual, register a whole team, or join an existing team at https://aidswalksdurham.securesweet.com
You can also continue to fundraise even after the walk is over. The donation website will remain open for those who are still trying to hit their fundraising targets.

Why should our community and allies walk? Any interesting news and developments on the fight against HIV front?

One of the most important new developments in the field of HIV/AIDS is U=U, or Undetectable = Untransmittable. Essentially, what this means is that when poz people are on treatment, and maintain an undetectable viral load, they cannot transmit HIV through sex, pregnancy, or child birth. This means that one of the best hopes we have for eliminating HIV in the future is to provide care to those who are living with the virus now. When you participate in the Durham AIDS Walk, either by walking as an individual, starting a team, or donating to another walker, the money raised goes directly to ACDR’s support programs for people living with HIV.

While we’re here why don’t you tell us about ACDR. Being a resident of Durham myself I know the important work and involvement you have in the community, but what can you tell everyone else?

ACDR is a community based non-profit organization, that serves all of Durham Region, but operates out of downtown Oshawa. ACDR is a community based non-profit organization, that serves all of Durham Region, but operates out of downtown Oshawa. At its core, our work is about addressing the issues people living with HIV face that create barriers to them living health lives with the virus. We know that there are many factors that impact a person’s health including life experiences, the environments in which they live and work, and the social and economic conditions that shape our lives. Our support services team works with people living with HIV to identify and address their needs. Sometimes this means working with pharmacists to ensure that our clients are taking the right medications, and limiting side effects that make managing their health difficult, or linking clients to financial supports to help pay for prescriptions and medical care. Other times this means bringing the community together to enjoy each other’s company. All of this makes an impact in the health and wellness of a person living with HIV, and can contribute to them staying healthy.

It’s a big job, and it gets bigger each year. Durham Region is growing rapidly and with this rise in population, we’ve seen an increased demand on our services. Since 2011, we have seen a 36% increase in the number of people we serve.

Despite this increase in clients, our core budget has not grown. This is why events like the AIDS Walk are so important. We rely on fundraising to meet the needs of our growing community.

Thank you very much and see you at the walk ???????

KeroPatra Performs

About the Author

Antoine has on numerous occasions said that everything he does is "a love letter to the LGBTQ community". and he truly loves this community. A 29 years' media and marketing leader, Antoine is the publisher of theBUZZ, The Pink Pages Directory, PinkPlayMags, and a magazine for Durham Region families The Local Biz Magazine, and is the host of talk show "On the Couch". On his off time he is usually involved in community organizations and causes.