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Thousands Run And Walk For AIDS Research

Wanda Sykes gets runners fired up at the starting line.

Wanda Sykes gets runners fired up at the starting line.

Nancy Harty Nancy Harty
I was a fan of WBBM Newsradio 780 long before joining the staff as a...
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CHICAGO (CBS)– Thousands of runners and walkers hit the lakefront this morning, all in the name of finding a cure for AIDS.

Upwards of 4,000 people participated in the 5k run, 5k walk and 10k run that started and ended at Soldier Field.

Jesus, a nurse for a non-profit group, was among those showing his support by walking. He is going through training to become an aids counselor and tester. He said there is still a stigma attached to being diagnosed with AIDS or HIV.

“We have to empower ourselves with knowledge and I think that will change a lot quicker,” Jesus said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports

An estimated 1 in 5 people in the US don’t know their HIV status.

So organizers offered tests at the race and the state Public Health Department will text locations for confidential testing sites.

The AIDS Foundation of Chicago says there are about 25,000 people living with HIV in the city and 1.2 million infected with the virus in the country.

Jamar Rogers, a singer who competed on “The Voice” last season, said as someone who has lived with HIV for almost seven years, it’s important for him to be with people he calls “his brothers and sisters”.

“I’ve gotten a chance to enjoy life and taste life. So anytime I get to share that encouragement and share that joy with people that are going through a similar thing, then I feel like my purpose is complete. I feel like everything I went through wasn’t for anything, because I get to stand here as a reflection of a second chance.”