July 24, 2001

AIDS Walk Detroit has hit the streets with its 2001 campaign, "Real People. Real Stories." As part of this campaign, 6 area residents whose lives have been touched by HIV and AIDS are telling their stories in support of the September 16 Walk. They include Julia, a Latino woman, who wants to educate the Hispanic community about the risk of HIV and AIDS.

Originally born in Austin, Texas, Julia moved to Flint, Mich. with her family as a young child and grew up there. She is a graduate of Central Michigan University and works for Con-Way Central Express in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, where she lives.

Although she has been fortunate not to have lost any family or close friends to HIV or AIDS, she knows that the disease is never far away. "This disease is particularly devastating on minority communities. The statistics for Latino people are frightening," said Julia when asked why she got involved with AIDS Walk Detroit. "I care about my community and do not want to see it ravaged by this disease! We must educate people and I am here to do whatever I can."

Specifically, Julia made reference to statistics from the National Institutes of Health which indicate that since the AIDS epidemic began, 56% of the reported cases have been among minority populations in the US, primarily African Americans and Hispanics. Julia was even more concerned that of all reported AIDS cases in women, 20% are Hispanic women and 85% of total pediatric AIDS cases were reported among Hispanics and African Americans.

AIDS Walk Detroit 2001 marks the 11th consecutive walk sponsored by Steppin' Out, the non-profit organization behind AIDS Walk Detroit. In ten years, Steppin' Out has raised over $1 Million to benefit those infected with and affected by HIV and AIDS in the metropolitan Detroit area, including a record $320,000 in 2000 alone. The money raised by AIDS Walk Detroit goes to HIV and AIDS organizations in the metropolitan Detroit area which provide direct care, educational or prevention services to people infected with and affected by HIV and AIDS.

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