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Local and Community News

California: AIDS Walk Orange County Takes Strides to Fight AIDS

June 2, 2003

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

Rossy Jones, a retired Laguna Beach resident, was one of the top individual fundraisers for the 17th Annual AIDS Walk Orange County. She called on friends, family and neighbors, who contributed almost $13,000. "This has become my mission, almost like my own ministry," said Jones, who lost her 33-year-old son to AIDS 10 years ago.

Walk organizers estimated about 15,000 participants raised $725,000 for AIDS prevention and support services by gathering pledges and walking 5K and 10K routes around University of California-Irvine on Sunday morning. About 5,000 more walkers showed up this year than in 2002.

Since the AIDS Walk began in 1987, the event has raised more than $10 million for agencies that provide food, housing, medical care, education and other services to those afflicted by AIDS in Orange County.

Jones has raised almost $50,000 in the last five years, making her one of the top individual fundraisers. "She only takes a couple of months off, and then she's at it again, mailing out her fliers," said Frank Romero, director of special events for the AIDS Walk. "She's very persistent without rubbing people the wrong way. And she has that charisma about her that makes you want to listen to her."

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Orange County ranks 28th for reported AIDS cases among 100 U.S. metropolitan areas with 500,000 or more residents. Walk organizers estimate that there are close to 10,000 people in Orange County living with HIV. From 1981 to 2001, 5,970 Orange County cases of AIDS were reported to CDC.

"This is the real killer, and guns and handcuffs can't take care of this one," Sheriff Michael S. Carona, this year's honorary chairperson, said of AIDS. Pearl Jemison-Smith, co-chair of the walk, said she fears the media have been concentrating too heavily on SARS and not enough on AIDS. "SARS is the disease du jour," she said.

Back to other CDC news for June 2, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Los Angeles Times
06.02.03; Dave McKibben

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
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