HIV/AIDS Walk happening Saturday

Positive Living North, in partnership with the Prince George Nechako Rotary Club, are hosting the HIV/AIDS Walk and Family Fun Day Saturday at Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park bandshell from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Everyone is welcome to attend the fundraising event.

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The day is especially geared to emphasize how HIV is now a manageable chronic illness and those living with HIV are able to lead long, healthy lives with family and friends and that's why a big portion of the event will focus on family fun, Kyla Turner AIDS walk coordinator and education manager for Positive Living North, said.

"We're going to have a bit of a change up for us," Turner said.

"Typically speaking in the past we've just had the standard charity walk but this year though we wanted to bring out some new faces and acknowledge that a lot of the people who are living with HIV in Northern B.C. are also now raising families, have grandchildren, and there's not so much for them to do with their younger family members so we're having a family fun day."

There will be games for the children who will be playing for tickets. It will be set up like an arcade where participants collect tickets and then exchange those for prizes. Games include ring toss, a fish pond and chuck-a-duck, which is similar to a bean bag toss.

Not only is the event geared for family fun but also to raise awareness.

Today's new medicine for HIV can take a person's viral load, which is the indicator of how much HIV is in the body at any given time and brings it to almost a zero, Turner explained.

"We call it 'undetectable,'" Turner said.

"Now you still have HIV in your body, unfortunately it's not a cure, but it does mean that you are much less likely to have a weakened immune system and you are much less likely to get sick and very few people today who are on medication are developing AIDS, which is much more serious than having HIV virus in your system."

Registration for the fundraising walk is from 10 a.m. until noon, when the walk starts.

There will be prizes for individuals and teams who are the greatest fundraisers, while others can pick up a donation form and those who are only able to raise awareness because of financial constraints are also welcome to participate in any way they can.

The walk route is a combination of in the park and on the street, going down Queensway from 20th to 17 Avenue and back into the park.

"It will be a nice and relaxing lovely little river walk on Saturday afternoon and we're hoping to make a little bit of noise and create some awareness going down Queensway as well," Turner said.

For more information visit www.positivelivingnorth.org or call 250-562-1172.

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