We’re coming up on the month of September once again, so put on your walking shoes and meet your friends in St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Park for the eleventh annual AIDS Walk Tampa Bay. This year’s AIDS Walk Tampa Bay will be held on Saturday, September 6, with check-in starting at 8 a.m. and the walk beginning at 10 a.m.. The AIDS Walk Tampa Bay benefits the AIDS Service Association of Pinellas, a service organization which serves people affected by HIV/AIDS in Tampa Bay.

Held every year since 2004, the AIDS Walk Tampa Bay has seen thousands of people participate for various reasons. Some want to support loved ones who are either currently living with HIV/AIDS or to remember the ones who have passed on. Some wish to educate others so the spread of HIV will subside. Nearly 35 years after HIV and AIDS stunned the world with its presence, we have made great strides treating the symptoms and not only prolonging life, but improving the quality of life for people affected. But as of yet, there is still no cure, and everyone involved hopes one is found soon.

People can participate in the walk either as individuals or as teams. These individuals and teams can use the AIDS Walk Tampa Bay website to solicit donations. These donations will directly benefit ASAP and will augment the programs that are in place, such as counseling, support groups, financial assistance programs, and prevention education and testing sites. So far, individuals and teams have raised over $57,000 in support of ASAP. They hope to reach the $150,000 mark by the day of the AIDS Walk.

ASAP offers support services and programs for adults and children who have HIV or AIDS in the Tampa Bay area. Over 1000 adults are served by ASAP, and over 125 children benefit from ASAP’s “Brighter Seasons for Children” program.

The AIDS Walk Tampa Bay is a 2.5 mile walk of downtown St. Petersburg. CVS Caremark is a presenting sponsor of the AIDS Walk this year. If you can’t participate in the walk, you can also volunteer. E-mail for more information.