It’s a long, winding road to ending the HIV epidemic. How long? About 300 miles, stretching from Cooperstown, New York, to Manhattan. That’s the course of the Eighth Annual Braking AIDS Ride, a fundraiser for Housing Works, which fights the dual epidemics of HIV and homelessness.
About 100 bicyclists and over 50 volunteers embarked on the epic journey September 13 to 15, riding their way through the Catskills and the Hudson River Valley before pedaling toward Manhattan—the ride ends at Grant’s Tomb.
To date, the ride has raised over $2 million to fight HIV in New York.
One of the unique aspects of the Braking AIDS Ride is its Red Dress Day, when riders meet in front of the State House in Albany. Most don red dresses they’ve purchased at a Housing Works thrift shop for the occasion. After observing a moment of silence to honors those lost to HIV/AIDS, they take off on their bikes, creating a “ribbon of red” to garner more attention to their cause.
“Braking AIDS Ride reflects our commitment to fight every day to end HIV as an epidemic and to achieve health equity and social justice for the most disenfranchised New Yorkers,” Housing Works president and CEO Charles King said in a press release. “2016 data indicates we are on track for achieving most of our ending-the-epidemic targets, but we are lagging behind on several fronts outside New York City. We have not seen sufficient declines in new infections among women, especially transgender women, and we have also seen a frightening rise in new infections among foreign-born Latinx gay and bisexual men. Donations to the ride are helping us defeat ongoing efforts to destroy our nation’s health care system and also support our advocacy campaigns to expand rental assistance for low-income people with HIV outside New York City, to ensure that all service providers are supporting viral suppression and to ensure that everyone at risk of HIV has access to pre-exposure prophylaxis [PrEP]. Together, we can end AIDS.”
Below is a recruitment video for this year’s ride:
According to the Housing Works website, since 1990, the organization has provided comprehensive services such as housing, job training and health care to more than 30,000 homeless and low-income New Yorkers living with HIV.
For related news, read “Housing Works Opens a Manhattan Health Clinic for Drug Users.”