OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is joining forces with AIDS Walk OKC to raise money and awareness to help end the stigma people living with HIV endure.

OSDH’s Sexual Health and Harm Reduction Service reps will join AIDS Walk OKC members and citizens from around the metro at the 24th Annual AIDS Walk beginning at noon on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022 at the Myriad Gardens.

The event will cap off with a one-mile walk, beginning at 2 p.m.

“HIV has been with us for 40 years now, and what was once a death sentence is now a manageable chronic condition,” said William Andrews, public information officer for the Sexual Health and Harm Reduction Service in a news release. “Our goal is to ensure people have access to testing and to help those who are living with HIV get treatment as quickly as possible.”

The free, family-friendly event is open to all members of the community.

“This is an opportunity for the community to remember those we have lost throughout the AIDS epidemic, celebrate those living with HIV, and raise funds for organizations offering support and prevention services,” said Cameron Collins, president of AIDS Walk OKC. 

This year’s walk theme is ‘U=U 2022.’ The term refers to the fact current therapies can reduce the amount of HIV in the bloodstream to undetectable levels, rendering it untransmittable through sexual contact. 

Oklahoma is one of seven states that has been identified with the highest rural burden of HIV. The other six states include Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and South Carolina.