Hi! My name is Kate Pipa, I’m about to graduate college from Northeastern University in Boston and embark on an adventure of a lifetime. This summer I’ve decided to ride a bike cross-country to support two fantastic organizations fighting HIV/AIDS – San Francisco-based FACE AIDS and Boston-based Partners in Health (PIH). A team of 8 of us, all college students or recent graduates, will leave the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area on June 21st to begin our 63 day journey as the 2013 Ride Against AIDS team.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 34 million people were living with HIV in 2011. 25 million people have lost their lives over the past three decades due to HIV/AIDS complications. Nearly 1 in every 20 adults in Sub-Saharan Africa are living with HIV which accounts for 69% of all people infected with the virus. What makes these figures worse is that there is no cure for the HIV infection. However, effective treatment with antiretroviral drugs can control the virus so that people living with HIV can enjoy healthy and productive lives. In 2011, more than 8 million people living with HIV received antiretroviral therapy (ART). There is still a gap in those who receive treatment though, and that’s where FACE AIDS and Partners in Health step in. (Facts from the World Health Organization website here.)
Each year, PIH provides ART to more than 20,000 people in Haiti, Rwanda, Lesotho, and Malawi. In addition, PIH takes a more holistic approach, providing housing, water, food, and psychosocial support to thousands of people living with HIV. From the PIH website, to paraphrase a Haitian proverb, providing medicine alone is equivalent to asking someone to dry their hands in the dirt after washing them. By providing social and economic support to people living with HIV, PIH addresses the root causes of poverty and disease, and not just the disease itself. And they do it while minimizing overhead costs; about 93 cents per dollar fundraised goes to programming while remaining an extremely transparent organization.
As I finish up my last semester and train throughout the spring (I am not super athletic yet but have been training at 6:30am three times a week with the November Project, more to come on this fun adventure later!), I plan to post on the blog here with updates of my journey along the way.
Please take a look at my Ride page and consider donating here: https://secure.qgiv.com/hobnob/account/20446
Also - questions & comments are always welcome. Don't hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for reading my post and for your support.