Thousands raise money to fight HIV during AIDS Walk Atlanta

Thousands of people ran, jogged and power walked their way through the 27th Annual AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K Run on Sunday to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for non-profits battling HIV.

The day of events hosted by AID Atlanta in Piedmont Park included a VIP brunch, opening ceremonies, a 5K run and then the 5K walk. Organizers also launched a new "Pack the Park" initiative that included HIV testing, a community picnic, food trucks, kite flying and a superhero costume contest.

The walk also included select panels of the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt as well as banners chronicling key moments in the battle against HIV in Atlanta.

Leading up to Sunday's walk, AID Atlanta hosted several events including beer busts and a friendly bar wars in August.

Funds raised at the event support AID Atlanta and six other organizations – Aniz, Jerusalem House, Living Room, NAESM, Open Hand and Positive Impact Health Centers. On Wednesday, an online tally showed that the walk has raised more than $477,000 of its $1 million goal.

“The desperately needed funds raised by our runners and walkers allow us to continue to work to prevent new infections and help people living with HIV/AIDS live longer and healthier lives," Nicole Roebuck, executive director of AID Atlanta, said ahead of the events.

Donations to AIDS Walk Atlanta came from individuals and teams that raised funds during events throughout the year. One of the largest team totals came from Ready 4 Hope, which raised nearly $48,000 thanks to its Red Party Weekend and Bear-B-Q. Other top fundraising teams included Positive Impact Health Centers ($43,935) and Jerusalem House ($26,206).

Erick White placed first in the 5K run with a time of 17:13, at least the third consecutive year he's won the race. White knows how to nab a Pride Run crown, too.

Chloe Arson was the overall female winner with a time of 23:05. View the full race results.

Photo by Russ Youngblood