This is also the 25th anniversary of the formation of the AIDS Services Foundation in Laguna Beach.
Enormous strides have been made in the treatment of HIV and AIDS, but the disease is still infecting and affecting people around the world, and Laguna Beach still has the most per capita cases in Orange County, medical professionals said.
"We don't see the horrible deaths and the appearance of the blue blotches, but there are 450 people living with AIDS in Laguna Beach, 1 million across the world, 25 [million] to 26 million dead," Rodriguez said. "The disease is not going away any time soon."
The AIDS Walk organizers hope to raise $1 million, he said.
Kim de St. Paer, who conducts anonymous AIDS tests under the auspices of the Laguna Beach Community Clinic, and gives results to the tested and counsels them, urged residents to go on the walk.
She also commended Rodriguez for his years of service to HIV medicine.
Rodriguez began to focus on the disease in 1988 when the HIV/AIDS reached epidemic proportions. He helped to found the American Academy of HIV Medicine and has served as president of the California chapter of the academy and of the AIDS Services Foundation.
— Barbara Diamond