On Saturday Nov. 20, The Unity Wellness Center of Auburn will host its 4th annual run/walk for World AIDS Day.

World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. It is also the first ever global health day to be established. It was founded in 1988 by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, two public information officers for the Global Program on AIDS at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Unity Wellness Center is a local center that provides HIV testing and counseling, HIV primary medical care, medical case management services and HIV prevention education and awareness programs.

“Today HIV treatment is straight forward; there are a lot of resources and there are a lot of ways to stay healthy with HIV,” said Jessie Schwiesow, who has been with the wellness center for over 10 years. “We are a specialty clinic and what makes us unique is we accept all clients, any HIV positive person that doesn’t have health insurance we don’t turn them away we provide them treatment.”

The Unity Wellness Center has the race to not only raise money to treat HIV but to spread awareness about their treatment facility as well as erase the stigma behind HIV.

“Stigma is so bad in our community when it comes to HIV, that is probably one of the biggest challenges we see,” Schwiesow said. “… People not talking about it or having this conversation, not realizing that people with HIV live long, healthy and normal lives.”

The staff at the Unity Wellness Center want the community to know that it has somewhere to turn for help.

There are a few different ways to be involved with the run for World AIDS Day. There will be a one mile walk that is not timed beginning at 8 a.m. It is $20 to register. There will also be a timed 5K beginning at 8:30 a.m. that costs $25. For those that still don’t feel comfortable joining due to COVID, or for other reasons can’t attend in person, but want to show support, they can register to attend the event virtually for $10.

The 5K will have age group awards presented to the overall top three female and male runners and to the top three female and male runners in each age group (18 & under, 18-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51+).

Online registration for the run ends Thursday, Nov. 18. After that, you can still register on Friday, Nov. 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Unity Wellness Center in Opelika or on race day starting at 6:30 a.m.

You can register for the event at You can also sign up to volunteer for the event by contacting

“Our volunteers will mainly be helping to direct people on the 5K course, we appreciate any help.” Schwiesow said.

The event will take place rain or shine at Town Creek Park in Auburn and will also have raffles and refreshments for runners and volunteers throughout the morning.

For more information about the event or to donate visit the website at Unity Wellness Center World AIDS Day run/walk.