Northlanders Raise Awareness on World AIDS Day

More than 36 million people are living with HIV

DULUTH, Minn. – A candlelight vigil took place in  Downtown Duluth to commemorate the lives lost to HIV and AIDS, as well as draw attention to the illness as a way to de-stigmatize the topic.

“People with HIV and AIDS are just that – They’re people,” advocate Will McGraw said. “I think that all people deserve to feel safe and respected and heard in their community.”

According to the World Health Organization, more than 36 million people are living with HIV.

“We’re at a point in time medically where we have enough interventions for people who are HIV positive, or who have AIDS, to be qualified as chronically ill, and not a person with a death sentence,” advocate Kathy Hermes said.

With enough medical intervention, experts say it is possible for those affected by HIV to not spread the infection to others.

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