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Fighting HIV/AIDS as easy as dining out with friends

Rural AIDS Action Network (RAAN), the statewide nonprofit organization working to raise awareness and help prevent HIV/AIDS, while providing support for HIV/AIDS clients in rural Minnesota, is partnering with The Aliveness Project to expand Dining Out for Life to four new locations in Greater Minnesota.

April 26 will mark the 18th year of Dining Out for Life in Minnesota. It has been coordinated by The Aliveness Project and held primarily in the Twin Cities. This year the cities of Alexandria, Lanesboro, Mankato and St. Cloud will join Minneapolis/St. Paul, Duluth and Rochester as locations where people can participate in Dining Out for Life.

Dining Out for Life is an international event held in more than 60 cities in the United States and Canada. Each restaurant is generously donating a portion of their sales to help people living with HIV/AIDS. KARE 11 meteorologist, Sven Sundgaard and Rena Sarigianopoulos, reporter, will serve as co-spokespersons for the event.

"RAAN is very excited to be a part of Dining Out for Life in 2012 and this is a great opportunity for people to join us in raising awareness about HIV/AIDS. Just choose a participating restaurant and enjoy a meal with family and friends. It is that easy!" said RAAN's Executive Director Charles Hempeck. "We truly appreciate Bella's on Broadway and D. Michael B's who signed on in Alexandria."

Established in 1992, the mission of the Rural AIDS Action Network is to foster caring, knowledgeable communities that ensure quality services and support for people affected by HIV/AIDS. RAAN served nearly 1,000 individuals last year, providing prevention services, such as HIV testing, for 736 clients, and medical case management for 225 individuals who are being treated for HIV/AIDS.

For more information about Dining Out for Life, including how a restaurant can participate, call the Rural AIDS Action Network at (320) 257-3036 or www.raan.org. You may also visit www.diningoutforlife.com for a list of participating restaurants throughout Minnesota. All proceeds raised from Dining Out for Life support local services in Minnesota.

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