Residents in Recovery is inviting people to take a stroll in support of those affected by HIV and AIDS.

The institution will be running an AIDS Walk on December 2 to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS issues. The walk will be the day after World AIDS Day which falls on December 1. 

Program Director Tyler Lorenz hopes to bring more awareness to AIDS and HIV issues in the community, especially for those in Saskatchewan.

“Saskatchewan has the highest HIV diagnosis rates in all of Canada, more than double the national rate. It’s a huge issue in Saskatchewan.”

The province’s last report in 2017 found 177 people were newly diagnosed with HIV that year. The rate is 15 people per 100,000 and 2.4 times higher than the national rate. 

The report showed 28 per cent of exposures were the result of sexual contact and 67 per cent came from injection drug use. 

In the latest report from Alberta Health, the province saw a 13 per cent decrease in 2018 with a rate of 5.8 cases per 100,000.

Lorenz says about 20 people joined for the first AIDS Walk last year. He is hoping to build on that presence.

“We want to raise awareness of HIV and those individuals in our community afflicted by HIV and let people know it doesn’t have to be a life-threatening disease anymore and there are treatments available.”

The walk starts at noon in front of the Residents in Recovery building on 4804 – 50th Avenue. The walk will loop around downtown before ending in front of the building. 

Lorenz says they will be providing more information on services offered for those affected by HIV and AIDS and what can be done to prevent the spread of the virus.