| A group of cycling enthusiasts will pedal for a purpose May 20-21 in a 200-mile ride from Atlanta to Athens and back to raise money for AIDS vaccine research at the Emory Vaccine Center and for social services provided by AIDS Athens. This year's two-day Action Cycling 200 race marks the AC200's fourth year, with 100% of the $130,000 raised thus far going directly to HIV/AIDS vaccine research. Bike riders raise money to participate in the event as individuals, relay team riders or crew members.
The race is organized by Action Cycling Atlanta, a local group whose members previously have participated in national and international bike rides benefiting AIDS vaccine research throughout the U.S. Ride sponsors include Atlanta Party Plus, AutoTrader.com, Noel Axton & Associates - Remax Metro Atlanta, Big City Bread, The Coca-Cola Company, CUH2A, CytoDyn, Daily Groceries Food Co-op, Earth Fare, East Lake Golf Club, Foodworks, Lumpkins Café, Marti's at Midday, Outback Bikes, Phoenix Produce, and Zim's Bagel Bakery.
“Development of an AIDS vaccine is a critical part of the fight against this global pandemic, and the Emory Vaccine Center is an international leader in this effort,” said Rafi Ahmed, PhD, director of the Emory Vaccine Center. “We are honored to have the enthusiastic support of Action Cycling Atlanta and the other individuals participating in this weekend’s ride. Volunteer contributions from ACA will enable the Vaccine Center to pursue innovative vaccine strategies and related research that otherwise might be difficult to fund through traditional sources.” Riders will depart at 8:00 a.m. Saturday, May 20 from the Hope Clinic at 603 Church St. in Decatur, ride to Athens and stay overnight at the University of Georgia before returning to the Hope Clinic Sunday afternoon around 4:00 pm for a victory celebration.
An AIDS vaccine developed at the Emory Vaccine Center, Emory's Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and GeoVax, Inc. currently is being tested in clinical trials at several national sites. The Vaccine Center's Hope Clinic conducts clinical trials of vaccines being developed for AIDS and other diseases. The Clinic currently is conducting trials of an AIDS vaccine developed by Merck, Inc.
AC200 is part of a series of events observing HIV Vaccine Awareness Day. The Hope Clinic will hold its HIV Vaccine Awareness Event (“Ending AIDS: The Search for a Vaccine”) on Thursday, May 18 at 6:30 pm at the LeFont Plaza Theater on Ponce de Leon Avenue, including a keynote talk by Pat Thomas, author of the book "Big Shot: Passion, Politics, and the Struggle for an AIDS Vaccine," screening of the award-winning documentary film "Ending AIDS: The Search for a Vaccine," and the "Taste of the World" reception.
To learn more about the Action Cycling 200 race or to register, volunteer, or make a pledge, visit http://actioncycling200.kintera.org. For more information about the Emory Vaccine Center, visit http://www.vaccines.emory.edu. For Hope Clinic activities, call 877-424-HOPE (4673) or visit their website at www.hopeclinic.emory.edu
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