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AIDS Walk Aims to Raise Awareness

HIV and AIDS are on the rise in the Ozarks. KSMU's Ryan Farmer reports on a light-hearted event taking place this weekend to raise awareness of the growing problem

AIDS is one of the top 10 causes of death for people ages 15-44.

The AIDS Projects of the Ozarks, or APO, has been serving our community and those affected by HIV and AIDS for many years.

Tomorrow, Saturday the 20th of September, marks the APO's 15th annual AIDS walk at Phelps Grove Park.

With the rising numbers of HIV and AIDS in the Ozarks, officials say this walk is more important than ever.

Cecelia Havens, the Development Director for the APO, says that a big part of the increase in cases is the lack of education on how HIV is spread.

Havens: " For people to think it happens in their community, its not as on the for front as it once was, and people become complacent. And with the rise in drug use in this area, we also see an increase for that. Its a bigger epidemic than people would like to think, so we try to get out and make others aware, to be safe and to be educated and knowledgeable."

Havens says for her, tomorrow's walk has a personal significance.

Havens: "This event is important to me for many reasons because HIV and Aids has affected my life personally. I've lost some friends to the disease and its a cause that I believe in whole heartedly; which is why I work for the APO."

Events for the walk include live music, a doggie obstacle course, prizes and giveaways.

Registration for the walk begins tomorrow morning at 9 at Phelps Grove Park.

The walk commences at 10 o'clock.

For KSMU News, I'm Ryan Farmer