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Washington AIDS Walk draws 6,000 people

Washington AIDS Walk draws 6,000 people

About 6,000 people participated in the 17th annual Washington AIDS Walk on Saturday to benefit the Whitman-Walker Clinic, the largest HIV/AIDS care center in the District of Columbia region, walk organizers told The Washington Post. Officials said they were hopeful the walkers met the event's goal of raising $600,000 for the financially strapped organization. Whitman-Walker last month announced that it was selling some properties, reducing its staff, and would begin charging for some basic services, including HIV and sexually transmitted disease screenings, to help eliminate a $800,000 deficit in its annual $28 million budget. The annual AIDS Walk used to raise much more money for the clinic. The 1999 walk drew about 30,000 participants and raised $1.5 million. But in 2001, just days after the September 11 terrorist attacks, only 3,500 walkers participated in the event, raising only $4,000. About 13,000 HIV-positive people live in the Washington area, say health officials. About one in 20 adults in the District of Columbia is HIV-positive.

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