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Tens Of Thousands Participate In AIDS Walk New York

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As more than 30,000 people walked through Central Park on Sunday in support of those living with HIV and AIDS, organizers said the end of the AIDS epidemic is in sight.

The 29th annual AIDS Walk New York, held Sunday morning, is expected to raise more than $3 million for 40 organizations offering housing, medication and clothes to people living with AIDS and HIV, as well as educating young people about safe sex.

"We are really on the cusp of ending the epidemic proportions of HIV," Janet Weinberg, interim chief executive officer of Gay Men's Health Crisis, told CBS 2's Vanessa Murdock. "We can do that now. We have new tools."

Craig Miller, the event's founder and producer, told WCBS 880's Monica Miller that in 1986, when the first walk was held, receiving a diagnosis of HIV or AIDS was a death sentence.

Today, "if we all do our jobs, stay determined and vigilant, HIV and AIDS, as an epidemic, can really become a thing of the past," Craig Miller said.

AIDS Walk New York
FILE -- Participants walk in AIDS Walk New York through Central Park on May 18, 2014. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

Organizers have set a goal of 2020 for ending the AIDS epidemic.

Michelle, of the Bronx, who has had HIV for 10 years, walked in the event for the first time Sunday.

"I'm excited," she told Miller just before the event began. "I couldn't sleep last night."

A man promotes safe sex during AIDS Walk New York in Central Park on May 18, 2014. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

CBS 2 has been a proud sponsor of the event for six years now, and Dana Tyler and Chris Wragge were on hand helping to make AIDS history. NCIS Los Angeles star Eric Olsen said that he first witnessed the walk when he was 15.

"To come full circle and be a part of this today, last year for this specific walk they raised $5-million," he said.

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