GREENSBORO, NC – Triad Health Project (THP), the area’s HIV/AIDS service organization, will hold its 25th Annual Winter Walk for AIDS and Ron Johnson 5K Run on Sun., Dec. 4. The event is held each year to commemorate World AIDS Day and raises both HIV/AIDS awareness and over $120,000 for the direct services, support, and prevention education programs of THP. The event will be held rain or shine, starting from the campus of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG).
“It’s a new day when it comes to HIV/AIDS,” says Reidel Post, who took on the THP Executive Director Role in August. “While HIV remains a serious public health issue, with over 100 people newly infected every year in Guilford County, there is effective medical treatment; it’s no longer the death sentence it once was.” She understands the general public’s thoughts about HIV have likely not caught up to medical science. She continues, “I’m glad to report that recently THP has achieved much higher rates of HIV testing and prevention education outreach, which allows us to better address the fact that 1 in 6 people do not know their HIV status. There are those who do die of this disease who could have been saved with earlier testing, which we provide free of charge.”
THP continues working with over 500 people each year who are infected with or affected by HIV. Reidel Post states, “We celebrate the progress that has been made over the years and, yet, there still is no cure, and treatment comes with difficult medical side effects and complications. There are also what most people think of as simple basic human needs that too often become severe economic suffering for HIV patients. The critical reality for them is far-reaching insecurity surrounding shelter, food, heat during the bitter cold months, and emergencies that cannot be met without the support of our generous donors. Seeing the tears of relief when someone is given a chance to live in a dignified manner is invaluable.This is why we walk.”
Winter Walk garners support from every corner of the community, including corporate sponsors, churches, college and high school student groups, civic organizations and concerned individuals. Participants use the walk’s online and in person peer-to-peer fundraising model to support Triad Health Project’s mission of providing emotional and practical support to individuals living with HIV/AIDS, to their loved ones, and to those at risk for HIV, to provide free HIV and STI testing, and to educate those at risk and the community about HIV. This year’s walk once again takes up the theme “One 4 Zero,” a mantra Triad Health Project uses to encourage every individual to help reach zero new HIV infections by educating themselves and others about the importance of knowing their own HIV status, supporting prevention efforts and confronting the ongoing stigma of HIV that can be a barrier to people seeking treatment.
Registration for Winter Walk is free for walkers and $35 for the timed 5K run. Ample free parking will be available on the UNCG campus. Free and confidential testing for HIV and other STIs will be available beginning at 1 p.m when registration for the walk and 5K run begins inside Elliott University Center. Special performances by the Grimsley High School Blue Steel Drum Line and Triad Pride Men’s Chorus are scheduled from 1-2 p.m. and food will be available from the Crafted! food truck. Following a brief opening ceremony at 2 p.m. that will include remarks by Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan, the walk and run will commence. The 5K run is named in honor of Greensboro estate attorney, Ron Johnson of Johnson, Peddrick & McDonald, PLLC in Greensboro, NC. A longtime THP supporter and advocate, Ron has consistently been the single largest individual fundraiser for the Winter Walk for AIDS for 23 consecutive years, raising nearly half a million dollars for THP’s programs and services.
As a tribute to the silver anniversary of Winter Walk, Westerwood Tavern andAppalachian Mountain Brewery will be co-hosting an after party at Westerwood Tavern (508 Guilford Avenue in Greensboro) immediately following Winter Walk. Food, drink and raffle items will be highlights of this event, giving participants and those who couldn’t make it to the walk itself a place to come together for an additional One4Zero opportunity to make a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Triad Health Project began in 1986 as a grassroots effort among fourteen friends to deal with the emerging health crisis and the barriers and discrimination their friends with HIV and AIDS were facing. Through the years, our services have adapted to the changing reality of HIV management. Presently, THP is one of the largest AIDS service organizations in North Carolina, with a culturally diverse staff of 13 and a volunteer base that exceeds five hundred. As the primary community service provider, we offer Case Management, our Higher Ground Day Center, Education and Prevention Outreach, HIV/STI testing and a Client Food Pantry.