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Organizers of annual AIDS walk say HIV infections are on the increase in Edmonton

Hundreds of people put on their capes and superhero outfits to take part in Edmonton's 26th annual AIDS Walk and Superhero Run on Saturday.
Hundreds of people put on their capes and superhero outfits to take part in Edmonton's 26th annual AIDS Walk and Superhero Run on Saturday. Global News

Hundreds of people put on their capes and superhero outfits to take part in Edmonton’s 26th annual AIDS Walk and Superhero Run on Saturday.

The event, along with the colorful costumes, are part of the organizations vision zero campaign with the goal of no new HIV infections.

“Vision of zero, which is zero HIV infections, zero stigma and discrimination and zero aids related deaths,” Laura Keegan with HIV Edmonton said. “When Edmontonians stand up for that we call them heros for zero.”

But recent statistics show infection rates are increasing in Edmonton.

“The HIV epidemic globally- we see the rates, they are going down, however what we’re experiencing in Edmonton is actually an increase in HIV especially in certain vulnerable populations- so we see an increase in gay men, and men who have sex with men, as well as the afro-caribbean community and our indigenous population,” Keegan said.

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Advancements in treatment also mean a diagnosis is no longer terminal.

“There’s a lot of preconceived notions, people see it as a death sentence,” Keegan added.

Global’s Nancy Carlson emceed Saturday’s event which took place in McIntyre Park.