6/24/2016 2:53:02 PM
Lowcountry AIDS Services (LAS) and the Roper St. Francis Ryan White Wellness Center (RWWC) are teaming up to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS in the Charleston community. The two organizations are partnering to present the Lowcountry Red Ribbon 5K Run & Walk, set for Saturday, Sept. 10 at Wannamaker County Park in North Charleston.
Started in 2009, this event has grown to become a timed 5K race on a certified course along the trails of the county park. The race begins at 9:15 a.m. with an after-party including food trucks, music with DJ Trevor D, games and vendors until noon.
Both organizations will split the event proceeds, which will be used to help the more than 2,500 people living with HIV and AIDS here in the tri-county area gain access to medical care and live healthier, more sustainable lives.
In 2015, The White House published its National HIV/AIDS Strategy highlighting South Carolina and its southern neighbors as the new epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. South Carolina ranks 13th in the nation for its high prevalence of AIDS cases, and Charleston/North Charleston ranks 19th among national metropolitan areas.
In December 2015, Lowcountry AIDS Services published its “State of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Charleston” report, highlighting the HIV epidemic facing the Charleston region – especially among young people under the age of 30. LAS and RWWC conducted a combined 1,749 HIV tests in 2015. Of those, 42 were HIV positive with the majority being young, African-American men.
“HIV is happening in our community. This is not a problem in major cities or third-world countries, it’s happening right here in Charleston. We need to bring attention to this epidemic and educate people about regular HIV testing and prevention.” said Bradley Childs, executive director of Lowcountry AIDS Services.
Ryan White’s Director Kimberly Butler Willis added, “Partnering with LAS increases the volume of both organizations’ efforts to reach a common goal – to end HIV in the Lowcountry. The Lowcountry Red Ribbon 5K is a great start for a community awareness, engagement, and action.”
The 5K course winds through Wannamaker Park on both paved trails and through a forested, unpaved path through nature. A 1-mile option for walkers is available. Individual 5K and 1-mile walk registrations are $30 through Sept. 8. Register at packet pickup or the morning of the event for $35. Team discounts and sponsorships opportunities are available. Race packet pickup will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9 at Lowcountry AIDS Services, 3547 Meeting Street Road in North Charleston and at 8 a.m. the morning of the race. For information and to register, visit www.redribbonlowcountry.org.