“Our area is significantly impacted by HIV and AIDS, since Florida has the largest number of new HIV diagnosis in the nation”

St. Petersburg, Fla. (November 17, 2015) – December 1 is recognized as World AIDS Day, an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS. This observance is specifically important for Tampa Bay, since new diagnoses have been rising in the area. In an effort to spread awareness and support the community infected and affected by the virus and disease, the AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP), a member of Empath Health, presents the 12th Annual AIDS Walk Tampa Bay and Fun Run, at Vinoy Park in Downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015.

“Our area is significantly impacted by HIV and AIDS, since Florida has the largest number of new HIV diagnoses in the nation and new cases in Tampa Bay are rising,” says Rafael J. Sciullo, president and CEO of Empath Health. “This is why it is tremendously important that we raise awareness and support these community members.”

According to data by the Florida Department of Health, Hillsborough County recorded a 63 percent increase in new HIV cases since 2012, and Pinellas County had a 32 percent increase in the same period. The state of Florida had 5,821 new HIV infections in 2014, a 27 percent increase from 2012, and more recent data collected in 2015 show that the numbers continue to rise.

Walkers, runners, donors and volunteers who come out to show their support will help provide much needed resources to ASAP, a leading non-profit HIV/AIDS organization supporting clients and families across the entire Bay Area.

For the first time this year, a Fun Run is being added to the event. Participants can join the walk or run as an individual or part of a team, and make an impact together.

Registration begins at 8 a.m., followed by the Run at 9:50 a.m. and the Walk at 10 a.m. Online registration and more information is available at AIDSWalkTampaBay.org.

ASAP (AIDS Service Association of Pinellas, Inc.) is a nonprofit provider of medical case management, counseling and pharmacy services to Tampa Bay area residents with HIV. As a member of Empath Health, our focus is helping clients achieve treatment success so they can live a healthy life, providing support to caregivers and family members and educating the community on the prevention of HIV.

About Empath Health
Empath Health is a non-profit integrated network of care that provides expert, life-changing health care to those with chronic and advanced illnesses. Empath Health includes hospice, palliative home health and physician services, independent living assistance and day care for seniors, HIV services and advance care planning. Contact Empath Health at 727-467-7423 or EmpathHealth.org.