Someone contracts HIV every nine-and-half minutes in the U.S.

The severity of the illness inspired two Riverwood International Charter High School students – Zach Solomon and Max Greenhouse — to make a difference.

On Worlds AIDS Day Dec. 1, 2008, Riverwood became the first school in the nation to create an official “Human AIDS Ribbon.” This year, the students conducted the event again and had around 300 students and more than 40 teachers form a ribbon pattern on the football field.

“It seems like it is all over the place,” Zach, 18, said moments before formation. “To see it come together is really rewarding.”

T-shirt sales raised money for The Elton John AIDS Foundation.

“I think it’s a great cause,” said participant Shane Williams, 16, a Riverwood junior.

Coach Leigh Hudson, sponsor and organizer of the event at Riverwood, said she jumped at the opportunity, because as a health teacher “nothing is better than getting information out about HIV and AIDS … It is a global issue.”

— Amy Wenk