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AIDS Walk re-routes

'We want to get back to our roots and involve the community': Townsend

A strategic change by organizers will bring this year’s AIDS Walk closer to the gay village and its residents for its 25th anniversary this September.

In lieu of its usual route north around the seawall through Stanley Park, the 2 km event will this year start at the AIDS Memorial at Sunset Beach, move west along Beach Ave past Denman St, then loop back.

“It’s the first major change we’ve had in many years,” says Glen Townsend, chair of the BC Persons With AIDS Society (BCPWA), which hosts the walk. “We want to get back to our roots and involve the community. We’re hoping, given that we’ll be around the Denman and Davie area, a lot more people will see us.”

Proceeds from the Walk go toward a complementary health fund for low-income people with AIDS.

“The reality is, yes, we do actually have the best HIV care in the world,” says Townsend. “But we still need to find community when it comes to supporting each other.”

While overall rates of HIV are steadily decreasing, BCPWA’s director of communications and education says infection rates are rising within the gay community.

“We believe that a part of that is that HIV knowledge isn’t what it use to be. Hopefully this will heighten awareness,” says Adam Reibin.