It was 1981, more than 30 years ago, when AIDS was first diagnosed in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Roman Catholic Church, through a network of organizations and treatment facilities, provides about 25 percent of AIDS-related services globally. It is the largest AIDS healthcare services provider in the world. Catholic Relief Services has AIDS programs in more than 60 countries.
While the Church has instituted HIV/AIDS programs in Atlanta, Sacramento and Los Angeles, work is being done right here in O.C. to support AIDS services programs.
Santiago de Compostela Parish in Lake Forest launched the OC Catholics AIDS WALK team for the first time in 2012 and has been walking for the past three years to raise money for the treatment of some 7,000 affected by the disease in Orange County. The team consists of seven members led by Steven Payne. Money is used to provide transportation, in-home meals, mental health counseling and other family programs.
The team from Santiago de Compostela is looking for more walkers to join them in this year’s AIDS Walk/Run. The event takes place on Saturday, May 9 at the William R. Mason Regional Park in Irvine. Participants may run or walk over the 5K course which is relatively level terrain throughout. Check-in can be completed online or on the day of the event at 7 a.m. The Walk/Run begins at 8 a.m.
More information may be found at ocasf.org or by calling Steven Payne at 949.584.9156. Those interested in supporting the group without walking are invited to donate to the OC Catholic AIDS Walk team through ocasf.org.