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HIV/AIDS Walk Hopes to Raise Disease Awareness

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 208

Individuals wearing white t-shirts walked the campus of Knox College and Standish Park on Saturday to raise awareness about a potentially deadly disease.

The HIV/AIDS Task Force of Western Illinois was hoping the event would act as both a fundraiser and an opportunity to educate the public. Members of the task force said that because HIV/AIDS has been prevalent for some time, many people feel the disease is under control.

Monies raised are expected to be donated to “Central Illinois Friends of People Living with AIDS” in Peoria. Board member Judy Britt tells WGIL that financial assistance is needed now more than ever.

“Their state funding has gone, pretty much away, along with most other organizations so now they depend heavily on groups like ours to provide some of that extra funding that’s needed,” says Britt.

Nonetheless, those funds, which had a goal of $1,500, will be put toward paying the utilities or perhaps even the rent of individuals afflicted with HIV/AIDS.

Heart of Illinois HIV Center Case Manager Clay Johnson tells WGIL that events like the AIDS Walk in Galesburg are for keeping the disease a relevant topic.

“We’ve had instances where some communities feel like there’s no HIV in their community – which is false,” says Johnson. “We have HIV positive individuals in all of our counties, and the funds that are raised here will be used directly to help all of our clients.”

Donations can help with transportation for medical visits, rent subsidies, and even help pay for utilities. Several HIV positive individuals participated in Saturday’s event which saw many educational pamphlets on hand for those in need.