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(Chicago Sun Times) — As World AIDS Day approaches Wednesday, Chicagoans living with HIV and AIDS today know a different world than those who were infected 15 years ago, when AIDS deaths reached their peak.  Today, an HIV-positive diagnosis is no longer a death sentence. Because people who have HIV are living longer due to medical advances, the number of people with HIV or AIDS continues to rise. According to data released Monday by the Chicago Department of Public Health, the number of Chicagoans living with HIV and AIDS was 20,871 in 2008, the most recent data available. That’s up from from 8,500 in 1995.  Outside of World AIDS Day events, marathons and fundraisers, the virus takes a back seat in conversation, people living with HIV say.

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