Despite a brisk cool breeze, the day was perfect for a walk. Wayfarers of all ethnicities arrived early to kick off the 2017 AIDS Walk of South Dallas. Amid shouting last-minute orders, Auntjuan Wiley, executive director of AIDS Walk South Dallas Inc. took a minute to speak with rolling out about his vision.
It was Wiley’s intention, almost a decade ago, to find a way to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS. Wiley states the best way to do that was “to let people know that HIV is still alive and to continue to bring awareness to South Dallas.” Today, Wiley’s vision is needed more that ever. As new HIV infection numbers continue to rise — primarily in the Black and Latino communities of Dallas, the seventh annual AIDS walk of South Dallas supports Wiley’s initiative.
The walk was well attended by individuals who are directly and indirectly impacted by HIV as well as community organizations such as Prism Health of North Texas, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Gilead, and Janssen. Also present was the walk’s ambassador, Dallas County Health and Human Services director, Zachary Thompson. Thompson reiterated the importance of this year’s walk was to “engage, educate, empower.” He went on to say, “New cases of HIV/AIDS are increasing in the 13-18 year age group.”
“This walk indicates we cannot educate enough about HIV,” said Dallas County Council District 6 candidate Linus Spiller. Since the mid-’90s, Spiller has been in the trenches fighting for HIV education and says, “it’s more important today [education] than it was back then.”
Now the focus is on managed health care because people are no longer dying from AIDS they are able to live a healthy life with managed health care. There is an urgent need for education, to get more people tested; heterosexuals as well as the LGBT community.
It was a dazzling sunny day in Fair Park for the AIDS walk of South Dallas. Smiling faces and energized feet of all ages made it a day of fun, food, and awareness, all for a healthy cause — HIV prevention.
For more information, contact: AIDS Walk South Dallas INC. – 469.410.3755 [email protected] or Dallas County Health & Human Services – 214-819-2000 www.dallascounty.org