It was standing room only at Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church in Pass Christian as hundreds of South Mississippians came together for a service in recognition of World AIDS Day.
The theme "Women, Children, HIV, and AIDS" was appropriate. Women and children are now the largest group infected with the disease.
"We must teach our women that our bodies are sacred, and it's not to be treaded on. They are not to be promiscuous women. They are to be women of high moral character," said speaker Rev. Rosemary Williams.
For 17 years now, millions have gathered for World AIDS Day. But it's about more than just getting together, singing songs and wearing a red ribbon. It's about taking the steps to find a cure.
When it comes to finding a cure, awareness and action speak louder than words.
"I know with the advances of the medications that we have now for HIV, many times people take for granted or view HIV as not as serious as it has been in the past, but it is still a serious problem. We really have to focus on awareness and preventative measures," said event chair Rusty Dempsey.
Hopefully through services like these each year, everyone will feel the responsibility to take action and eventually put an end to a disease that has claimed more than 20 million lives.
According to the World AIDS Day organization, the AIDS virus continues to infect nearly five million people each year, despite an increase in global spending to fight it.