Walkers participating in the annual Twin Cities AIDS Walk on Sunday raised more than $525,000 for the Minnesota AIDS Project, a figure down more than $100,000 from the 2002 walk's proceeds, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. About 8,000 walkers participated in the event, down from about 12,000 last year. "Given the economy and all of what's happening in the world, I think we're doing great," said Lorraine Teel, executive director of the Minnesota AIDS Project. More than 50 former employees and volunteers for the late senator Paul Wellstone walked in remembrance of their boss, who traditionally gave a prewalk pep talk at previous years' walks. "Since Paul's not here to energize the walkers, we thought we should fill the void," said team captain Jason Little.
According to Teel, there are about 7,000 HIV-positive people in Minnesota, with a new HIV case being diagnosed about once every 29 hours. Many of the state's HIV-positive people live in Minneapolis-St. Paul, the state's largest urban area.