Hundreds of participants and supporters gathered in downtown Austin for the city’s 29th annual AIDS Walk on Saturday, Oct. 16. As always in the spirit of love, this year’s event was dominated by an energy of promise, positivity and awareness. Food trucks and info booths lined the cheerful sidewalks as live music performances echoed throughout downtown Austin’s Palm Park. By the time walkers had completed the 2.75-mile trail, over $220,000 had been donated to the cause.
The funds, which were raised by a combination of group and individual donor efforts, will go to support the services provided by 11 Central Texas AIDS organizations. For many of them, the funds will help benefit continued outreach to minority and at-risk populations (AIDS Walk fundraising stays open until Nov. 16 so there is still time for the community to support our friends and neighbors living with HIV).
AIDS Services of Austin, an organization with a mission to enhance the health and well-being of the community and people affected by HIV and AIDS, is one of such organizations. Marcus Sanchez of ASA spoke with TODO Austin about their continued commitment to Latino and other at-risk outreach initiatives. Their most recent effort is a bilingual Spanish/English outreach campaign called Paleteria Pontelo. The recently launched initiative creatively targets the at-risk Latino community by providing safer-sex supplies, information about pre-exposure prophylaxis and testing services (paletas included). Paleteria Pontelo can be found at the Q Austin on Medical Arts Street and at ASA’s Cameron Road headquarters.
There are an estimated 6,000 people living with HIV and AIDS in Central Texas. Approximately one in five are not aware of their status. Annually, ASA provides direct care services to over 1,500 people and HIV prevention education to over 10,000 people in Central Texas. More information can be found at asaustin.org.