When Sarah Sacco learned she had AIDS 10 years ago, she only saw the statistics.
In 2003, 111 people in Colorado with HIV or AIDS died.
Even while she took powerful medication, Sarah Sacco kept looking at those numbers. In 2012, for example, 52 people with the diseases died.
Sarah Sacco wants that number to keep dropping.
On Saturday, she plans to help host the No Death Jam, a concert benefiting the Southern Colorado AIDS Project Food Bank. The concert will feature several local singer-songwriters from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Rock of Ages Lutheran Church, 120 N. 31st St.
For Sarah Sacco, the mission is a personal one.
After college, while on an AIDS education trip to Africa, she saw the devastation caused by the disease. When she returned home, she learned she had it herself.
"It's crushing, in one word," she said. "I traveled the world, thought I was ready to take on the world and here I was, thinking I was going to die anytime.
"I was left very hopeless."
She sought help through a Southern Colorado AIDS Project support group. There, she met Carmen Anthony Sacco, an AIDS patient who was given two months to live when diagnosed 13 years ago.
Their bond was immediate, and they got married. A few years into their marriage, they learned Sarah Sacco was pregnant with a girl, Abigail Sacco.
Their daughter is now 4 years old, living without the disease.
"Our little joyful gift from god - that's what her name means," Sarah Sacco said.
The girl now runs around with a vibrant personality, one far beyond a normal 4-year-old. And it's her parents' hope that she grows up in a world devoid of AIDS.
The prospects for that future are brightening: The number of people with HIV or AIDS has dropped by 53 percent from 2003 to 2012, according to Melanie Mattson, with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The statistic includes people with the disease who have died of heart failure of liver disease, Mattson said. But, she added, it is the best measure available to the state to measure how HIV and AIDS patients are handling the disease.
Proceeds from Saturday's event won't go to fund research. But, Sacco said, it will help people battling the disease by stuffing a food pantry. And she hopes it raises more awareness for the issue.
"There's a lot of hope," Sacco said.
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