Old friends tend to be some of the best. They know the struggle and they’ve been there to celebrate the triumphs. Aunt Rita’s Foundation, a Phoenix organization dedicated to the elimination of and suffering from HIV and AIDS, is that old friend to Phoenix Pride.

Aunt Rita’s is responsible for bringing the AIDS Walk back to Phoenix in 2008, following a five-year absence. Now a flagship fundraising and awareness event for the region, the walk is held on the fourth Saturday in February at Tempe Beach Park.

It was that first year back, though, that truly solidified the mutually supportive relationship that has blossomed between Aunt Rita’s and Phoenix Pride as AIDS Walk Arizona that year fell on the same day as Phoenix Pride’s Rainbows Festival. Despite the scheduling conflict, Aunt Rita’s and Phoenix Pride came together, supported each other and moved forward with two events to raise awareness about and support the LGBTQ+ community while also educating about HIV.

Since then, the two organizations have supported each other by attending and promoting events, activities and programs each of them host. Aunt Rita’s and Phoenix Pride believe that their collaborative approach, and lasting mutual support, adds strength to the missions and effectiveness of each organization and benefits the LGBTQ+ community.

And at Pride, we’re forever grateful for this lasting partnership and the incredible work Aunt Rita’s does for our community with its dedication to educate about, prevent and treat HIV. To learn more about how to help Aunt Rita’s, how to benefit from their services or how to support the partner agencies they fund, visit auntritas.org.