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Why World AIDS Day still matters

"I don’t know how kids today get HIV," a friend and 26-year HIV survivor told me. "There’s no reason. We didn’t know a whole lot about it in the beginning. Now, you can’t pretend you don’t know. The information is everywhere."

Since 1988, December 1 has been reserved for the red ribbon as an occasion to remember the lives lost and, more importantly, to remind everyone that AIDS is still a problem.

AIDS has been with us for over 30 years now. It is well known and well studied — so why is the Philadelphia HIV infection rate five times the national average?

According to statistics released by the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health, over 60% of high school students in Philadelphia have had sex. And of those students, 40% did not use a condom the last time they had sexual intercourse.

It’s statistics like these that make World AIDS Day so important, to those living with the disease and more so for the eyes that can be opened by it.

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