Julie Lewis shared with the world that she is living with HIV.

With her son Ryan Lewis, she is creating a new non-profit called 30/30 that aims to provide access to affordable healthcare worldwide.

Ryan Lewis has become a household name due to his work with his musical partner Macklemore. Their independent debut, The Heist, is a chart topping, Grammy winning success. So when he and his mother talk about HIV, people listens.

In an interview with CBS News Lewis was asked about the inevitability of disclosure around his mother’s HIV status, to which Lewis responded, “I mean, I have an AIDS ribbon tattooed on my arm. Like, if you're gonna do that, you gotta be kinda willing to share.”

Thus the catalytic spirit of the Red Ribbon endures. Created in 1991 by the Visual AIDS Artist Caucus, a New York based ad hoc group of artists and activist, who were looking for a way to deal with their anger, grief and confusion around the virus and specifically the ways in which the AIDS crisis was being ignored by the media, came together to create a symbol that anyone could wear to show their compassion for people with AIDS and their caretakers.

With the Gulf War in full swing and large yellow ribbons starting to appear tied to homes and trees in honor of US soldiers, the members of the Visual AIDS Artist Caucus worked to create their own, personal ribbon, worn by individuals, that provoked the question, what about our war? What about our dead and dying?

Since then the Red Ribbon has gone on to become short hand for HIV/AIDS and a template for how "awareness" has become branded and communicated - from the pink ribbon to live strong yellow bracelets - the pairing of a specific color and an object you can fashion on to your body has become the way we tell the world we are invested in a cause, and how causes use bodies to market themselves.

A major part of the Red Ribbon’s legacy is the frustration many AIDS activist have of the symbol. Famously, the art collective Gran Fury created a poster that read, “You Can’t Wear A Ribbon If You Are Dead,” an articulation that activism needs to be more than gestures.

And yet as Julie and Ryan Lewis illustrate, in a world still thick with stigma and discrimination around HIV/AIDS the red ribbon is not only a powerful message that quickly communicates the ongoingness of HIV/AIDS, as a symbol it can help communicate a commitment, and stands as a testament to the difficulty we still have talking about the virus and the impacts.

Learn more about the history of the Red Ribbon Project here.