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By Patricia Daddona
PBN Staff Writer
Two leading HIV/AIDS physicians are taking the fight against HIV/AIDS to the streets.
The annual AIDS Walk for Life takes place Saturday, Sept. 28, with walkers gathering at 9 a.m. on the State House lawn, and the step-off at 10 a.m.
Rhode Island physicians Charles Carpenter and Philip Chan are co-chairing the walk, which is the area’s largest event dedicated to raising awareness and funds for HIV prevention and testing, and providing care for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Carpenter is director of the Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research and a professor of medicine at Brown University. He has been deeply committed to the care of persons living with HIV infection since the mid 1980s and was responsible for starting The Miriam Hospital Immunology Center which provides state-of-the-art care to the majority of Rhode Island’s HIV positive community.
“The Rhode Island AIDS Walk has provided strong and visible support to the Rhode Island HIV community for nearly three decades. For the first time, we can now say that a clear path to victory is at hand,” Carpenter said.
“One of the major goals of the Rhode Island AIDS Walk today is to ensure that every Rhode Island resident who has not been abstinent since 1980 has had a diagnostic HIV test, and is receiving treatment if positive,” he said.
Chan is an attending physician at The Miriam Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital specializing in HIV/AIDS and STDs. He also performs research at Brown University on HIV epidemiology and transmission.
“We have made significant advances in our understanding and management of HIV. HIV is both preventable and treatable. Everyone should be tested at least once for HIV and annually if sexually active,” said Chan.
The theme for this year’s event, emceed by NBC 10 anchor and health reporter Barbara Morse Silva, is: Prevention is the Solution! Reflecting that theme, there will be free, anonymous rapid HIV testing available. Participants can also get free chair massages, Starbucks coffee, food, free flu shots administered by Lifespan, and other giveaways at this rain or shine event.
The Walk benefits AIDS Project Rhode Island, a division of Family Service of Rhode Island, along with various partner agencies.
Sponsors include: Cardi’s Furniture; The Miriam Hospital a Lifespan Partner; Clear Channel Stations; NBC10 WJAR; and the City of Providence.
The honorary AIDS Walk for Life committee includes Gov. and Mrs. Lincoln D. Chafee; Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts; General Treasurer Gina Raimondo; Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis; Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed; Speaker of the House Gordon Fox; Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse; Congressmen David Cicilline and James Langevin; Providence Mayor Angel Taveras; Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian; and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.
All are welcome to participate. To learn more, visit www.aidsprojectri.org or email Amy Stein at firstname.lastname@example.org.