CHICAGO — Since the AIDs Run and Walk Chicago began in 2001, there have been many advances in treatment and prevention of HIV.

Our own Dean Richards, serving in his annual role of Master of ceremonies, talked with Aids Foundation of Chicago CEO John Peller on treatment advancements.

“Some of the great news now is that people living with HIV, if they’re on continuous and early treatment, can live completely healthy lives,” Peller said.

There is a new medication in pill form called PrEP, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, that is 99% effective in preventing HIV, according to Peller.

More than 30 community organizations benefit from the money raised at the event—offering housing, mental health services, substance abuse counseling and treatment as well as medical visits and medication.

Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, made connections between the community work done for HIV/AIDs to the ones that grew from the impact of the coronavirus.

“I think the advocacy that LGBTQ folks and those interested in HIV/AIDS for decades have driven a lot of the best things that have happened around COVID,” Arwady said. “[There’s been] Real work on equity, real work on trying to make sure we are getting things like vaccines to the communities where they’re most needed.”

Every step is another one taken toward making HIV what it’s become today—a medically manageable and mostly preventable diagnosis.

“We know the money we’re raising goes to research and that’ll help a lot of people and if we do our part, every little bit helps,” walker Fabiola Enriquez said.