Beijing Gender and Health Education Institute is planning the first AIDS walk in China.
Organizers hope that around 150 people will walk together along the Great Wall of China just north of Beijing on Saturday 13 October to raise money and awareness.
‘I’m really excited,’ the walk’s organiser Xiaogang Wei, who also runs LGBT webcast Queer Comrades, told Gay Star News. ‘It’s not just about the money but it’s also about getting the HIV message out there.’
Around 30 people have registered already and the organizers are planning a big publicity campaign to get over 150 to walk for AIDS and HIV awareness. This Saturday Beijing’s most popular gay club Destination is promoting the walk.
Funds raised from the walkathon will go towards three support projects for people living with AIDS in Beijng, Harbin and Shenzhen.
From 2012, China AIDS Walk will be annual, making its way in yearly instalments across the country along the Great Wall, raising money and awareness in the interior provinces along the journey.
According to UNAIDS there are 780,000 people living with HIV in China, of which 17.4% were infected through gay sex.
‘Despite their staggering numbers, people living with HIV and AIDS continue to live a hidden existence in China,’ says a statement on the China AIDS Walk website. ‘Due to general misinformation and widespread fear, there continues to be discrimination and most prefer to remain invisible and keep their HIV/AIDS status a secret.’
The first AIDS Walk was in Los Angeles in 1985 and they’ve been held in dozens of cities all over the US since then, raising money for healthcare for local people with HIV and AIDS.