2017 AIDS Winter Walk

Minnesota AIDS Project raises support and awareness for those affected by HIV

A group of people participating in the 2017 AIDS Winter Walk.
2017 AIDS Winter Walk

photos by haley friesen

On February 25, the Minnesota AIDS Project held its 28th annual walk at Boom Island Park in Minneapolis. MAP works to help lower the incidence of HIV and provides confidential, community-based support to those affected.

Malika BenRedjeb: My closest friend was diagnosed with HIV and passed away in 2013 after having a cold that didn’t get better. He never told anybody and never sought treatment, maybe out of fear or embarrassment. Since then, I’ve been active with the Minnesota AIDS Project. I think a lot of people think it’s not even something that needs to get discussed anymore, but there’s so much more that needs to be done. 

Marvin Innes: I’m here because I’m HIV positive and I’m very active in the local HIV/AIDS community. It’s great to be part of a community like this that can come out and celebrate something as grim as being HIV positive. Just to see the vitality—you can’t stop being emotional.

Denise Baker: My dad and my brother both died of HIV in 1994. Being here as a family is about remembering how much we love them. It’s hard. It’s still hard. My brother was 32 years old when he died, and my dad was the same age that I am now. It changed all of us.

Alyssa Huck: My uncle passed away due to complications with AIDS about seven years ago. The stigma around HIV/AIDS is still very real, but being in a community like this, it doesn’t seem quite so prominent. 

Chris Krivanek: I’m HIV positive and before I became connected with the Minnesota AIDS Project, I was just sort of out in the wind. For me, the value is knowing other people who are HIV positive and in a good space about it. It’s also about having a resource to help deal with the issues that come up when you’re living with HIV.

As told to Brigitta Greene