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Allies in Hope Hosts Houston’s 35th Annual Walk to End HIV

Thousands are expected to take part in the fundraiser at Sam Houston Park on March 3.

For over 40 years, Allies in Hope (formerly known as AIDS Foundation Houston) has been at the forefront of the battle against HIV in the Greater Houston area.

The organization’s annual Walk to End HIV—scheduled for Sunday, March 3, at Sam Houston Park in downtown Houston—is not just a fundraising event but a powerful symbol of community engagement and solidarity in the fight against the HIV epidemic. Katherine Mestousis, Allies in Hope’s director of advancement, estimates turnout for the Walk will be in the thousands. With a goal to raise $350,000, this year’s walk aims to propel Allies in Hope’s mission to end HIV through strategic pillars that address testing, treatment, prevention, and swift response to outbreaks.

At the heart of Allies in Hope’s campaign is the imperative need for widespread testing, represented as the first strategic pillar. In 2022, it was estimated that one in six people were unaware of their positive HIV status. The Walk to End HIV serves as a rallying cry for increased awareness, encouraging individuals to get tested and know their status. Through community outreach, educational initiatives, and testing services—both in their office and at various community events, Allies in Hope aims to reduce the number of undiagnosed cases, a crucial step in breaking the chain of HIV transmission.

The Walk also underscores the importance of treatment, the second strategic pillar in Allies in Hope’s comprehensive approach. Free HIV treatment is a cornerstone of their services, emphasizing the achievement of undetectable viral loads. By endorsing the Undetectable Equals Untransmittable (U=U) message, Allies in Hope not only promotes the well-being of those living with HIV, but contributes significantly to prevention efforts by reducing the risk of transmission.

Prevention takes center stage as the third pillar, with Allies in Hope providing access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). The walk encourages conversations about the significance of PrEP in preventing new infections and emphasizes the accessibility of these medications through in-office visits, online platforms like Mistr, and home-delivery services.

The fourth strategic pillar focuses on a quick and effective response to potential HIV outbreaks. The Walk to End HIV provides a platform to highlight the organization’s commitment to timely intervention, ensuring necessary prevention and treatment services are available for those in need. By participating in the Walk, supporters actively contribute to a community that stands ready to address and contain HIV outbreaks swiftly.

Beyond these critical pillars, the Walk to End HIV encapsulates Allies in Hope’s multifaceted approach to battling the epidemic. The 35th Annual Walk to End HIV is more than just a fundraising event. It represents a collective stride towards a world where HIV is eradicated, where testing is widespread and accessible, treatment is readily available, prevention is a priority, and outbreaks are met with swift and effective responses.

Powered by Gilead Sciences, other community partners include Radio One, CORT Furniture, LyondellBasell, Walgreens, Starbucks, the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and Sesh Coworking.

The 2024 Benefitting Agencies include the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans, Lazarus House, Mack Counseling, and the T.R.U.T.H Project Inc.

Check-in for the Walk begins at 9:00 a.m., with the opening ceremony beginning at 10:00. The Walk kicks off at 10:30 a.m. with the Good Morning H-Town crew from 97.9 THE BOX emceeing the event. After the Walk, there will be a Post Party from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

What: 35th Annual Walk to End HIV
When: Sunday, March 3, at 10 a.m.
Where: Sam Houston Park, 1000 Bagby St.


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