About 50 people took to the streets of Nelson to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS in our community in the AIDS Walk for Life held Saturday.

AIDS Walk for Life: Stigma still exists

When two students signed up for the AIDS Walk for Life a few days before its start, they brought with them enthusiasm and a desire to learn.

When Krysta Aronson and Trena Raaen Gauthier signed up for the AIDS Walk for Life a few days before its start, they brought with them enthusiasm and a desire to learn.

As about 50 people headed down Baker Street for the walk on Saturday, the Social Service Worker students had already raised $650 and learned that a stigma still exists.

“People don’t attach a stigma when you get cancer,” said Aronson. “But they do when you get AIDS. It’s not fair.”

They heard of the walk when a former student of their program at Selkirk College came to their class. Gauthier said they “jumped at the chance to participate.”

“I thought it would be positive to take part and learn about something I don’t actually know a lot about,” she said.

The students realized that there are more people in our community with HIV and AIDS than at first glance.

“It affects more people thank you would think,” said Aronson.

The two knew they were a small team but “pounded the pavement” and garnered a great deal of donations for the cause.

“We were really enthusiastic when we went around asking and I think it rubbed off on people,” said Aronson.

The AIDS Walk for Life began at noon on Hall Street. Participants were accompanied by the Aboriginal drumming group from LVR. They made their way down Baker Street to Ward Street to Lakeside Park where participants enjoyed a BBQ.

The focus of the walk was to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS in the community to reduce a stigma still attached to the illness. ANKORS was the organizer of the annual event.