For this year’s AIDS Walk for Life, two leading HIV/AIDS physicians are taking the fight against this disease to the street.
The annual AIDS Walk for Life takes place Saturday, Sept. 28, with walkers gathering at 9 a.m. on the State House lawn in Providence and step-off at 10.
Charles Carpenter, M.D. and Philip Chan, M.D., two HIV/AIDS physicians in Rhode Island, are co-chairing the Walk this year.
Dr. Carpenter is director of the Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research and a professor of medicine at Brown University. He is also responsible for starting the Miriam Hospital Immunology Center and has been working with persons living with HIV since the mid-1980s.
Dr. Chan is an attending physician at the Miriam Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital specializing in HIV/AIDS and STDs. He also performs research at Brown University on HIV epidemiology and transmission.
Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung are also supporting the event as members of the Honorary AIDS Walk Committee.
The theme for this year’s Walk, the area’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for HIV prevention, testing and care for people living with HIV/AIDS, is: Prevention is the Solution! The event will be emceed by NBC 10 anchor and health reporter Barbara Morse Silva, and feature free, anonymous rapid HIV testing, free chair massages, Starbucks coffee, food, free flu shots administered by Lifespan, and other giveaways.
“The Rhode Island AIDS Walk has provided strong and visible support to the Rhode Island HIV community for nearly three decades. For the first time, we can now say that a clear path to victory is at hand,” Carpenter said. “If all persons living with HIV receive adequate treatment, transmission of the disease will cease. This can only occur if all persons living with HIV are aware of their infection and are receiving effective treatment.”
Carpenter explained that one of the goals of this year’s Walk is to ensure all Rhode Islanders who have not been abstinent since 1980 has had an HIV test and are receiving treatment if the results were positive.
“We have made significant advances in our understanding and management of HIV. HIV is both preventable and treatable. Everyone should be tested at least once for HIV and annually if sexually active,” said Chan.
All proceeds from this rain or shine event benefit AIDS Project Rhode Island, a division of Family Service of Rhode Island, along with various partner agencies.
Walk sponsors include: Cardi’s Furniture, the Miriam Hospital, Lifespan Partner Clear Channel Stations, NBC10 WJAR, and the city of Providence.
In addition to Mayors Fung and Avedisian, the honorary AIDS Walk for Life committee includes Governor and Mrs. Lincoln Chafee, Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis, Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, Speaker of the House Gordon Fox, Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressmen David Cicilline and James Langevin, and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.