'Picnic in the Park' in Phoenix to raise World AIDS Day awareness – Daily Independent

Aunt Rita’s Foundation will celebrate World AIDS Day to raise awareness for the fight against HIV with its inaugural Picnic in the Park, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3 at Portland Parkway Park, 200 W. Portland St., in Phoenix.
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What: Picnic in the Park
When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3
Where: Portland Parkway Park, 200 W. Portland St., Phoenix
More Information: auntritas.org
Aunt Rita’s Foundation will celebrate World AIDS Day to raise awareness for the fight against HIV with its inaugural Picnic in the Park, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3 at Portland Parkway Park, 200 W. Portland St., in Phoenix.
Sponsored by the Matthew B. Harty Family Foundation, Picnic in the Park “honors loved ones lost to the epidemic and celebrate the advances in treatment and prevention that move us closer to ending the epidemic,” Aunt Rita’s Foundation Executive Director Jimmy Thomason shared in a statement.
Picnic in the Park also offers the opportunity to view the National AIDS Memorial Quilt displays, Thomason said.
“We encourage people to bring their picnic blankets and spend the day relaxing, sharing the meaning of the day and catching some sun,” Thomason said.  He asked that attendees not bring pets to the event.
The theme for World AIDS Day 2022 is “Putting Ourselves to the Test: Achieving Equity to END HIV,” and encourages people across the globe to eliminate disparities and inequities that “create barriers to HIV testing, preventing and access to HIV care.”
World AIDS Day was first observed in 1988.
According to the World Health Organization more than 84 million people have been infected with the HIV virus since the beginning of the epidemic which has claimed the lives of nearly 40 million men, women and children. In 2021, 650,000 people died of HIV-related illnesses worldwide.
In the U.S., HIV.gov reports that approximately 1.2 million people are living with HIV and nearly 13% are unaware they are infected. HIV continues to have a disproportionate impact on certain populations, particularly racial and ethnic minorities and gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.
“The fight is not over,” Thomason said. “We have won and are winning some battles, but with nearly 35,000 new infections reported by the CDC in the U.S. in 2019, we have much work to do.”
With roots in Phoenix since 1988, Aunt Rita’s Foundation is dedicated to the elimination of and suffering from HIV and AIDS through collaborations with Arizona HIV service organizations and local and statewide government agencies. Aunt Rita’s Foundation helps fund HIV programs at 14 nonprofit organizations through more than $2 million in grants.
Visit auntritas.org.
Click here to buy tickets.

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