NEW YORK - Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach joined tens of thousands of supporters at New York's annual AIDS Walk over the weekend.
Wurtzbach, an advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness said she is inspired by how AIDS Walk has helped thousands of people with HIV/AIDS in the US.
She also has this message for the incoming president of the Philippines.
"I can only hope that this can also happen in the Philippines, especially with the new administration. I really have high hopes that we will see a better Philippines in the future," Wurtzbach said.
In 2015, the World Health Organization declared Philippines has the world's fastest HIV infection rate.
The WHO said there are nearly 33,000 people living with HIV in the Philippines and 82 percent of those cases were diagnosed from January 2011.
Wurtzbach said sexually active kababayans should get tested.
"Napaka-importante po na malaman natin kung tayo po ay positive or negative, at kung anuman ang maging resulta nito mabigyan kayo ng tamang edukasyon kung paano niyo mapo-protektahan ang inyong sarili, kung positive man kayo paano niyo magagamot yong sarili mo para magkaroon ka ng normal na buhay," she said.
More than 30,000 walkers raised $4.5 million dollars in last Sunday's 10 kilometer AIDS Walk in New York City.
It's the largest single-day fundraiser for AIDS in the world that benefits the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) and over 50 other local aids service organizations.
GMHC is using the funds to help end the aids epidemic and help people live a full life regardless of their HIV/AIDS status.
"With the generosity of people, I’ve been able to raise almost $60k. It’s an amazing sense of community. I think it's important for everyone to show up, be here, and show our faces and support to find an end to this," said Nick Adams, AIDS Walk star walker.
AIDS Walk founder and senior organizer Craig Miller said AIDS Walk is also here to send a clear message that diversity is welcome and hate is not.
"Hate is not a New York value, and that sexism is no joke, and that condoms are the only barriers we want to see between people right?" he said.
AIDS Walk supporters include celebrities like Jay Armstrong Johnson of the television series 'Quantico', Bebe Neuwirth and Erich Bergen of 'Madam Secretary', and Fil-Am actor Conrad Ricamora of the hit TV series 'How to Get Away with Murder'.
Ricamora plays Oliver, an IT guy who tested positive for HIV.
"He and his boyfriend are talking about sex and using prep for the first time on network television which is a great thing. I feel like we’re reducing some of the stigma and showing that people can live happy healthy lives with HIV today," he said.
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