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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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D.C. AIDS Walk raises money for clinic

The Graduate Public Health Student Association was the largest of 13 GW groups that participated in the 20th annual AIDS Walk Saturday.

D.C.’s AIDS Walk is a 5K fund-raising event for HIV/AIDS treatment beginning and ending in Freedom Plaza, at 13th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. The money goes to the Walker-Whitman Clinic, a D.C. nonprofit company established by and for the gay and lesbian community that focuses on HIV/AIDS treatment. About 425 teams participated in the walk this year – almost 100 more teams than last year’s total.

Groups raised about $470,000 for the clinic, said David Mallory, the coordinator of the walk.

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the discovery of the virus that causes AIDS. Since 1981, more than half a million Americans have died of AIDS – more than were killed in WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined, according to the AIDS Walk Web site.

Trey Watkins, co-vice president of the Public Health Student Association, organized the group of 60 graduate students. The organization raised $2,500 for the HIV/AIDS clinic.

“My goal for PHSA was not about the money, even though it is obviously key, and I am very excited about how much we raised,” Watkins said. “GW has the only school of public health in the D.C. area, and, with D.C. having one of the highest HIV case rates in the country, our presence and support at the AIDS Walk is imperative.”

About 13,000 people have died of AIDS in the D.C. metropolitan area, according to the AIDS Walk Web site.

Other groups representing GW included Amnesty International, Allied in Pride, Student Global AIDS Campaign, Undergraduate PHSA and the Health Law Group/Lambda Law Group.

Watkins organized a breakfast for GW AIDS Walk groups in Kogan Plaza at 7:30 a.m. About 75 students attended the pre-walk meal donated by Au Bon Pain, Starbucks and Students for Fair Trade.

GW students joined residents and students from all over D.C. in the pre-walk program at 9:00 a.m. in Freedom Plaza. Participants were led in an aerobics workout to techno-dance music followed by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, D.C. singing the national anthem.

“With D.C. HIV rates so high, this is happening right in our backyard,” Watkins said. “It is important for the GW community to stay educated and show their support.”

Megan Foster, chairperson of GW Allied in Pride, said the disease demands everyone’s attention.

“AIDS gained notoriety through the gay community in the 1980s, but it is still a large issue,” Foster said. “It is important to not only raise money for the cause, but having a presence shows people that this is an important issue that needs attention desperately.”

Jin Yoo, a member of the Global AIDS Campaign said his wake up time exhibits his dedication.

“Hey, I woke up at 7 a.m. I’m making a difference.”

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