Most people would say that after years of being educated on the subject, that they know the importance of safer sex.
But infection rates continue to climb, revealing some truly startling numbers. In spite of marketing campaigns, celebrity warnings and straight talk about safer sex, the HIV-AIDS infection rate is accelerating in Wisconsin -- with a 32 percent increase since 2001.
On Sunday came a rallying cry to try to reverse that trend.
"You can't ignore this away. You can't act like people aren't having sex," said Rebecca Kendziorski, the founder of African Youth Outreach.
For seven years, African Youth Outreach has been saying those words on the other side of the ocean and right here in Madison.
"We have to really wake up and realize, realize that this isn't someone else's backyard, everyone is related to this issue," says Kendziorski. "Everyone needs to be connected to it."
Statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation show the AIDS diagnosis rates among African-Americans is now nine times higher than the rate for whites, with black women making up the largest share of new HIV infections.
That's troubling to anyone, but Franella Ngaboh-Smart is doing something about it. She is currently studying public health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and this summer, she'll travel to South Africa. Ngaboh-Smart said that HIV-AIDS cases are often equally as invisible in our own community.
"Our world is so interconnected, that you can't distance yourself from anyone," says Ngaboh-Smart.
"You see figures like Magic Johnson, and you see that he looks perfectly fine, and he's healthy. So you forget that the disease is there," said Ngaboh-Smart.
What's also unseen -- or perhaps just ignored -- are gender roles, which are especially significant in cases where one side holds most of the power.
"When you have to depend on a guy for money, or you depend on a guy to get married, or you just depend on a guy, it's harder to negotiate safer sex terms," said Ngaboh-Smart.
A truth that is no sweet melody but one that this weekend was heard, in part thanks to African Youth Outreach's drums.
And now is no time to put down the drum sticks.
"The more we talk about it, the less scary it is," said Ngaboh-Smart.
African Youth Outreach has a group traveling to South Africa this summer to spend several weeks in communities there.
In the Madison community, they hope to start "parties with a purpose," which they describe as an enjoyable evening in a person's home along with some cold hard facts about HIV-AIDS. The group hopes that meeting in small groups will reduce the fear and stigma of the disease.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, one in five black Americans consider HIV-AIDS to be the leading health problem in the U.S. About 35 percent believe it is a more urgent problem today than it was even just a few years ago.