Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the AIDS organization that emerged in New York City less than a year after news of a unknown, deadly disease affecting homosexual men was first reported 25 years ago this June in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, held its most successful AIDS Walk to date this past Sunday.

A crowd of 45,000 marchers and onlookers turned out and raised just over $6.4 million in the 21st annual event of its kind.

“This year marks an important milestone, with the 25th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic and the founding of GMHC,” said Marjorie J. Hill, who is the organization’s interim executive director. “The more than 45,000 people who participated in AIDS Walk honor the lives of those living with HIV and those we have lost over all these years, and represent a real commitment to end the epidemic.”

As in years past, GMHC won the support of numerous New York-area corporations fielding teams of walkers and also of celebrities. Marquee names who turned out this year and participated at the Walk’s conclusion in Central Park included Naomi Watts, the star most recently of “King Kong” and a special representative of UNAIDS, the HIV prevention and treatment arm of the United Nations, Ted Allen and Carson Kressley (“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”), Jack McGee (“Rescue Me”), Richard Schiff (“The West Wing”), Paige Davis ( television’s “Trading Spaces”), Steve Valentine (television’s “Crossing Jordan”), and Richard Thomas (“The Waltons”). Diana DeGarmo (Broadway’s “Hairspray”) sang and Deborah Gibson performed “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” which is the AIDS Walk’s anthem.