Each year, thousands of people across this country are infected with the HIV virus. As the numbers grow, so do the support and funding to help them. The Twin Cities is blessed in this respect. We have a multitude of organizations that assist people, from everyday necessities to the most complicated issues. The area also mounts many fund-raisers to generate much-needed money for these groups.
Lavender recently spoke with Dirk Klick, who helps organize the Minnesota AIDS Trek.
How is the Minnesota AIDS Trek different from the Minnesota AIDS Walk or Red Ribbon Ride?
Each of these events has its own beneficiaries—all of which provide services to individuals living with HIV/AIDS. The funds raised by the Minnesota AIDS Trek go to six beneficiaries who provide a variety of services to their clients. In 2009, the beneficiaries are: Camp Benedict, Emory Vaccine Center, Minnkota Health Partner, Positive Care Center/HCMC, Top Shelf, and Women and Families Network.
What goals were set for the AIDS Trek this year?
In 2009, our goal is to raise $85,000, which will be divided among the six benefiting agencies.
Anything new added to the AIDS Trek this year?
Two new benefiting agencies have been added this year:
• Women and Families Network. Their mission is to engage HIV-positive women to advocate for a more responsive service system that addresses their unique health-care needs, which promote a better quality of life.
• Emory Vaccine Center. Developing a vaccine to halt the AIDS epidemic is a key part of the mission of the Emory Vaccine Center, and much of the research at the center relates to this effort. Scientists specializing in basic immunology strive to elucidate the fundamental workings of the immune system and how it responds to infection. Other investigators examine the interaction between HIV and the immune cells it attacks in order to identify ways to prevent or interrupt the process by which the virus destroys the immune system.
How late can someone sign up to take part in the AIDS Trek?
People can register to participate up until we ride out on Saturday, September 12.
To help, by participating in or by donating money to the Minnesota AIDS Trek, visit www.aids-trek.org.