By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In the 30 years since AIDS and HIV was diagnosed in America, Baltimore and Maryland have seen their rates of new infections climb to be among the worst in the nation.

On World AIDS Day, Mike Schuh reports from Coppin State about one large group trying to make a big difference.

At Coppin State, the louder, the better.

The drumbeat for AIDS awareness is heard loud and clear, seen in vivid red on a green canvas.

“I am here to celebrate people living positive with HIV/AIDS,” said Lola Adesanya, ribbon participant.

They are standing together to raise awareness and to try to form the world’s largest living red ribbon in a city with the fifth worst new infection rate in the country.

“No one has to get HIV.  HIV is totally preventable,” said Dr. Larise Edwards, ribbon participant.

The red ribbon was the first of many colored ribbons for a cause.  And now those awareness raisers hope renewed focus on the red ribbon will translate into action.

“It matters because every life matters,” said Debra Hickman, ribbon participant.

“The urgency dissipated and I think it’s particularly important in this community to keep the awareness of it alive,” said F.T. Burden, ribbon co-organizer.

The current ribbon record is 3,000. They were attempting to get 4,100. They were a little short, but say it doesn’t really matter.  One thousand people were enough to make an outline of the red ribbon that dominated the football field at Coppin.

“That we are able to raise awareness of, and the fact you’re covering it, reminds people it’s something they should do and know their status on,” said Burden.

That ribbon was organized by three groups, which help with food, housing and health care for those living with AIDS.


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