In its 33rd year, the AIDS Walk Los Angeles tradition continued on Sunday as droves of Southern Californians walked the city's streets in support of AIDS awareness. Starting on the stairs of downtown City Hall, organizations, groups and individuals alike cheered with enthusiasm while carrying "AIDS Walk" and "ALPA Health" signs as they strolled through the city.
Known as the world’s first walk to fight an epidemic, the event is meant to encourage millions to donate in order to raise funds to combat HIV and AIDS.
The funds are also raised as a "vital lifeline that sustains APLA Health’s prevention, care, and advocacy programs for the thousands of men, women, and families affected by the disease in Los Angeles County," according to the LA AIDS Walk website.
Although the walk has become tradition, supporters helped remind that the message of AIDS awareness is still fresh.
"We have to remind everybody that it’s still out there. Let’s fix this. You can’t just take a pill and be okay. It’s a terrible, horrible thing,” said Bob Stromberg who has been volunteering with the AIDS Walk for 26 years.
Some other supports walked in memory of those lost, like Mary Kretzmar who was holding a sign in dedication to her friend Mary Niver, who died of AIDS in 1995.
"We don’t have a cure yet and everybody needs to join us out here instead of sitting at home. They should be walking with us to find a cure," said Kretzmar.
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Showing a political presence, the Los Angeles City Controller, Ron Galperin, was in support at the walk with a message for the masses as a collective instead of individually.
"It’s important that we fight AIDS. We make sure that everybody gets tested. We make sure that everybody who needs medication has it both here in Los Angeles and throughout the world," he said.
The AIDS Walk consistently brings out a diverse crowd of thousands of people year after year. It was undoubtedly a success once again this year and supporters like Stromberg will make sure 2018’s AIDS Walk will be just as successful.
If you missed the AIDS Walk this year, there’s still an opportunity to donate directly to the cause here.