The World AIDS Day Red Run is celebrating its 10th year raising money for HIV support services. Alex Foott, Fundraising Officer at organisers Positive East, explains all you need to know about this year’s event.
On Saturday 30 November, the World AIDS Day Red Run turns 10 years old. This 10k/5k charity fun run or 5k walk through Victoria Park brings together HIV charities from across the country to rally support among the community and raise much needed funding for HIV services.
Positive East provides support services to people living with (and affected by) HIV in East London. We have been at the forefront of HIV service and care for 28 years; supporting people from the first point of HIV diagnosis to longer term care. Each year, we support more than 3,000 people – both with our services and a free HIV/STI test. As well as providing services that include counselling, peer support to health and wellbeing workshops, we host the annual World AIDS Day Red Run.
In 2009, Positive East launched the first ever World AIDS Day Red Run – a 5km fun run with 50 people taking part. Due to the event’s popularity in the years that followed and, given that there were no existing unified events bringing the HIV sector together, Positive East invited other HIV charities to join in and benefit from the event. Last year’s Red Run saw 43 charities taking part, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan cutting the official ribbon and more than 2,000 people attending on the day raising more than £125,000 for the HIV sector.
The Red Run Village – the event’s central hub – sits alongside a pop-up AIDS Memorial, panels from the UK AIDS Memorial Quilt and a small display of HIV and AIDS public health poster campaigns from the Wellcome Collection. All of these help us remember those who lost their lives to AIDS-related illness and why it is still important for us to provide HIV support services and come together as a community for the World AIDS Day Red Run.
This year, drag girl band DENIM will return as our Mistresses of Ceremonies and the Red Run Village will once again be powered by our iconic friends The Eagle, with DJs from Horse Meat Disco. We are honoured that Sir Ian McKellen will join us this year and cut the official start ribbon.
This is a pivotal moment in the history of HIV. Rates of new HIV diagnosis are on the decline, U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable) is a fact, and the UK has already exceeded the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets. However, amid the good news we must acknowledge that not everyone is benefiting from this progress. 103,000 people are living with HIV in the UK, 50,000 of whom are in London. Many people still face HIV stigma and there are too many people undiagnosed and diagnosed late. On top of this, funding cuts to the HIV sector are all too common despite HIV support services changing lives.
While the Red Run takes the shape of a fun run, it is first and foremost a day of solidarity where we show a continuing commitment to supporting people to live well with HIV. Whether you take on the 10k running route or fancy a 5k stroll through the park, the important thing is that you are there. We need to make sure that we don’t take our foot off the pedal and can continue working until HIV support services are no longer needed and we can only do this with support. I hope you’ll join us!