By Ted Scouten

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – South Floridians will join together at the Florida Aids Walk on Sunday to raise funds for the Aids Healthcare Fund.

Rick Wootten feels very lucky.  He is HIV positive, yet is healthy and happy thanks to medication. 

But his two pills a day are expensive – about $2,000 per month.   With no insurance, he was getting federal help – but was suddenly booted from the program.   

“My mind was going 100 miles an hour thinking what am I going to do?  How am I going to do this?  How am I going to get my medication? What’s gonna happen to me?” Wootten recalls.   

That’s when Wootten realized how important the money raised from the Florida Aids Walk was.  It goes to AHF – the Aids Healthcare Foundation.  When he was cut off the AHF stepped up. 

“Thank God there are organizations like AHF,” Wootten said.  “They provided me with the medication that I needed until I could get what I needed from the pharmaceutical company.”

AHF operates a pharmacy and thanks to donations, they can give life saving medicines to people who can’t afford them.  

“We don’t withhold their medicines,” AHF Pharmacist Genevieve Lloyd said.  “These are lifesaving medicines; they need to have their medicines, so we rely heavily on the donations.  The donations allow us to get the medicines out to the patients who need them.”

 And the money raised from the walk also helped pay for mobile testing units.  Thanks to donations –there are now three of them—35,000 people are expected to get tested in these units this year alone.   

“One of the mission of our mobile testing units is to bring  testing and the education to them in their community, in their home at their grocery store for the folks who, for various reasons, can’t or won’t go into a medical clinic or go to see their doctor for a test,” noted AHF Community outreach director Mark Martin. 

The walk begins Sunday at 10 a.m. at Huizenga Park in downtown Fort Lauderdale.  For more information, or if you’d like to donate, click here.


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