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AIDS Walk takes place in Wichita, amidst a rise in the virus



WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) –

The 25th annual AIDS walk in Wichita took place on Saturday in the city center, in the midst of an increase in the virus among certain populations.

According to HIV.gov, when using the latest statistics from the Center for the Control and Prevention of Diseases between 2012 and 2016, diagnoses were made for the disease were largely stable. However, they increased for certain population groups depending on race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. For example, there has been a 12% increase in the diagnoses of Hispanic / Latin American gay men and bisexual men.

Positive Directions Managing Director Brett Hogan said the disease was "re-released" according to statistics. So he said it had become his passion to help others avoid it.

"It has always been in my heart, it has always been part of me," said Hogan. "It's hard to explain, but that's my passion."

The AIDS Walk began only a mile away through downtown.

"This year we've grown so much that we can say we're ready to get it bigger," Hogan said.

The walk is still part of the event, but now includes free trials, live music, an outdoor market, and education on HIV / AIDS. Several people were present to participate in the walk, including an HIV-positive woman.

"It's an important cause," said Brenda Way.

Way was diagnosed with HIV in 1

989. She said she has now reached a stage that is said to be undetectable. This means that she simply takes medication to maintain her health, and the virus is undetectable in her body. However, she said that if she stopped taking the medication, it could flare up. She has been facing the virus for many years and said she has made various AIDS walks across the country.

"Originally from Minnesota, I participated in every AIDS walk and every state I lived in," Way said. "I lived in Indiana, I lived in Louisiana, now I live here."

According to Way, she almost died. She said, however, that it makes her happy to see the public supporting this cause.

"I love the fact that the community comes together and supports all who could benefit from it," she said.

Learn about the events that you can visit at positivedirectionsks.org. Hogan said that all proceeds from the event will go to a mobile van that will serve as an HIV / AIDS testing center.


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