L.A. AIDS Walk Helps Raise Money And Awareness for City and Gulf Coast

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Los Angeles AIDS Walk Raises $3.2 Million for City, Gulf Coast
By Ross von Metzke

(Los Angeles, CA) – A diverse crowd of more than 26,000 people turned out Sunday for AIDS Walk Los Angeles, raising more than $3.2 million for AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) and 16 other local HIV/AIDS organizations.

“The people of Los Angeles filled the streets today for people living with HIV/AIDS and the organizations that support them,” said AIDS Walk founder Craig R. Miller, who produces the event for AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA). “We are enormously gratified by today’s $3.2 million fundraising result.”

This year, APLA will also provide cash grants from the Walk fundraising to three HIV/AIDS organizations on the Gulf Coast.

Los Angeles is second only to New York City in rates of HIV infection with an estimated 57,000 people living with HIV/AIDS and 2,000 new HIV infections each year, according to statistics gathered by APLA.

The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that there are more than 15,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in hurricane-affected areas of Alabama and Louisiana; statistics for people living with HIV/AIDS in Mississippi are not available by county.

APLA will allocate grants to three organizations affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: AIDS Alabama, Montrose Clinic of Houston, and NO/AIDS Task Force of New Orleans, which was forced to cancel its own AIDS Walk scheduled for September 25. Each organization will receive between $20,000 and $25,000.

“The enormous success of today’s AIDS Walk demonstrates the unwavering resolve and compassion of Angelenos,” said Craig E. Thompson, executive director of APLA. “AIDS Walk Los Angeles continues to make vital services and prevention education possible in Los Angeles. This year, we are thrilled to support our friends and sister organizations on the Gulf Coast.”

Sunday’s star-studded event featured special performances by Grammy Award-winning artist Melissa Manchester and Sheryl Lee Ralph, with appearances by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Roma Maffia (Nip/Tuck), Rita Moreno (West Side Story, OZ), Kathy Najimy, Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond), Jai Rodriguez (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), Hal Sparks (Queer as Folk), John Spencer (The West Wing), and Bruce Vilanch (Hairspray), among others.