GREENSBORO- The North Carolina A&T Student Athlete Advisory Committee and the North Carolina A&T baseball team took to the streets on Sunday to help raise awareness for HIV/AIDs at the 21st Annual Winter Walk for AIDS, hosted by the Triad Health Project.
More than 1,250 people began the afternoon's event at historic War Memorial Stadium, the home of the Aggie baseball team. After a short ceremony inside the stadium, folks embarked on the three-mile walk through Aycock and Fisher Park neighborhoods and into downtown Greensboro to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS and to help fund Triad Health Project's work supporting individuals with HIV/AIDs, testing, and prevention education for the local community about HIV/AIDS.
The 21st Annual Winter Walk for AIDS raised more than $100,000 so far, and according to Ken Keeton, director of development and community invlovement for the THP, funds are still coming in from teams and individuals.
THP figures showNorth Carolina has the sixth largest number of HIV/AIDS cases in the United States. In 2011, THP served 2,496 people through a combination of HIV testing, HIV prevent education programs and direct client services.
CDC released a report on Nov. 27 that young people from ages 13-24 represent more than a quarter of new HIV infections each year, and that 60 percent of youth living with HIV are unaware that they are infected.
Therefore, the theme of the walk was "I am Positive," meaning that because HIV/AIDs affects everyone, we are in this together.
Second-year A&T baseball coach Joel Sanchez said participating in a community service project that helps support HIV/AIDS awareness was also important for his team.
"It's for a good cause, quite honestly. You never know. A lot of these kids that we've recruited or are recruiting might know someone, or someone who knows somebody that has dealt with this disease. We're showing support-that's the bottom line," Sanchez said.
The Aggies also enjoy taking the time to participate in the Winter Walk for AIDS because it helps them connect with each other as a team outside of competition and practice.
"It helps build a little bit of camaraderie and a little bit of team chemistry. We do things on the field together, we do things off the field together, and I think in that long run that helps bring the team together and builds cohesiveness. That's what we're looking for-team chemistry," Sanchez added.