10,000 expected at AIDS Walk San Francisco this Sunday

- AIDS Walk San Francisco is expected to attract up to 10,000 people to Golden Gate Park Sunday. 

Organizers says the fight to help those with HIV/AIDS is far from over, even with people surviving the once deadly infection. 

Robin Williams Meadow, renamed from Sharon Meadow, is the starting point for the walk.

On Friday evening, crews worked to set the stage for the 32nd annual Aid Walk at Golden Gate Park.
Sunday's 10k walk is held entirely in the park. 

Across town, workers were busy packing supplies and creating signs at an office south of Market. . 
Since its inception, the AIDS Walk has raised more than $90 million to help survivors of HIV/AIDS. 

"It's still an issue with more than 40,000 new HIV infections across the country. It's important that people know AIDS is not over," said Kelsey Louie, executive director of ACRIA, a research and advocacy nonprofit that serves older adults living with HIV. The group is helping organize the walk and is among the dozens of beneficiaries.

Louie says 63 percent of survivors are age 50 and over and new infection cases have shifted away from gay men. 

"The groups that are seeing more HIV infections are women, particularly trans women of color," said Louie. 

One activist who's participated in the AIDS Walk for more than 10 years says he recalls when the deadly epidemic started in the 1980s. He was in his twenties then and didn't think he was going to survive. 

"I question whether or not I could have lasted or how long I could have gone on without being infected. That's always been on my mind," said Alan McCord, director of eduction of Project Inform. 

The nonprofit is another beneficiary of AIDS Walk. 

McCord says he has lost many friends to the AIDS epidemic, including a mentor named Reggie Williams.

He headed up the National Task Force on AIDS Prevention. He was 49-years-old. 
 
"It's a little numbing to think about all the people who've died over the years. It's also numbing to know how many people are living with hiv and are still sick, unnecessarily sick and I'd like to change that 
 
Participants say the AIDS Walk is a way to educate and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS to generate support.for research to find a cure and to fund support services for survivors. 

"Today's generation of young folks don't understand a generation where a time when an entire community was decimated by HIV/AIDS," said Louie. 

The opening ceremony is scheduled to start at 9:45 a.m. Sunday, with the walk to begin at 10:30 a.m. 

Organizers say the goal is to raise $2 million. 
 

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