AIDS walk draws thousands to D.C.

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - In the nation’s capital, where more than two percent of residents live with HIV or AIDS, the 27th annual Whitman-Walker Health AIDS Walk is more than just a stroll through city streets.

“To the friends I've lost, to the friends living with HIV, I walk for them," says Randy Kier, a walker in the 5K.

Kier was joined by nearly 5,600 people who collectively are raising more than $600,000 that will go to 14 different organizations.

“I'll be thinking about my godfather,” Rana Fitzgerald says.

In 1988, Fitzgerald says she lost her godfather to HIV. At the time, the disease was highly stigmatized.

“I feel like I owe it to him to be out here today to grieve properly and to appreciate his legacy."

Tiffany Gilliard of Whitman-Walker Health says in the decades after the AIDS crisis great advancements have been made, but there are still miles to go.

“The epidemic has been around for 30 years but we are still seeing new infections,” she says. “And until we get to zero it's absolutely vital that we still do research and we still work on finding a cure."

And if not a cure today, at least hope for tomorrow.

"To those who might be infected in the future, I want them to know this is something they can beat,” Kier says.