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WASHINGTON -- AIDS may hit developing countries the hardest, but the International AIDS Conference is shining a spotlight on a stubborn epidemic in the U.S., too.

RELATED | HIV crisis facing black women in metro Atlanta

United Nations AIDS chief Michel Sidibe calls the impact on black Americans shocking. Of the nearly 1.2 million Americans with HIV, nearly half are black men and women. And black gay and bisexual men are at highest risk.

Access to treatment is only one hurdle. Sticking with medication daily for life is another.

U.S. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says the government is trying novel partnerships with community groups and others to help.

First up is a pilot program with the MAC AIDS Foundation that will send text-message reminders about medication to young people living in the South.