Anti-AIDS fund-raising ride ends in Los Angeles

18:57, June 13, 2010      

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The ninth annual AIDS/LifeCycle bike ride ended here on Saturday after raising 10 million dollars for promoting anti-AIDS services.

More than 2,400 people took part in the seven-day ride from San Franscisco to Los Angeles.

The participants, including 1,925 cyclists and 500 volunteer roadies, ages 18 to 82, came from nearly every U.S. state and eight countries.

Organizers say this is the world's largest annual HIV/AIDS fundraising event, which raises funds for the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

"I want to thank the riders and roadies for their remarkable passion and unfailing dedication," L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center CEO Lorri L. Jean said at the closing ceremony.

"Because of you, thousands of people with HIV and AIDS will be able to come to the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and San Francisco AIDS Foundation and get the medical care and other help they desperately need. Because of all that you have done, literally thousands of lives will be saved."

The 1,925 cyclists and 500 volunteer roadies, ages 18 to 82 and hailing from nearly every state and eight countries,

In the seven days it took to ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, more than 1,000 people in the United States and 50,000 people around the world were infected with HIV, organizers said.

"The participants on this ride and their generous donors have inspired us all to fight harder than ever in our quest to end AIDS," said Barbara Kimport, interim CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation and one of the cyclists.

"Their extraordinary efforts have spread awareness that HIV and AIDS continues to affect so many lives," she said. "Together, we will bring an end to this disease through bold public policy work and innovative programs that stop the spread of HIV."

The participants raised an average of 5,000 dollars each this year. Since its inception in 2002, AIDS/LifeCycle has raised 70 million dollars to support HIV/AIDS services.

AIDS/LifeCycle is a fully supported, 545-mile (872-kilometer) bike ride -- not a race -- that supports the HIV/AIDS services provided by the two facilities and raises awareness that HIV/AIDS is a growing scourge, especially in California, where more than 10 percent of the nation's HIV positive people live. California ranks second among the states in cumulative AIDS cases.

There are 1.1 million Americans living with HIV -- the highest number in the history of the epidemic. Teens and young adults ages 13 to 29 account for more than one-third of all new infections in the United States, the largest share of any age group.

Source: Xinhua


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