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Rob Altemeyer, MLA Wolseley
November 29, 2012

World AIDS Day

Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize that this Saturday, December 1st, is World AIDS Day. On Saturday, united as a global community, the world will participate in vigils, demonstrations and many other peaceful activities to stand united in the global fight against AIDS. Today members and my colleagues on this side of the House wear a red ribbon in solidarity with those who are affected by HIV/AIDS.

The number of people living with HIV continues to rise in every part of the world. There are now more than 33 million people living with the disease worldwide. In Manitoba, Aboriginal people are disproportionately affected, a tragedy that we, as governments, communities, families and individuals must fight every day. We may know more about HIV/AIDS than we once did, but we must remain vigilant in the fight that affects far too many people.

This year, and up to the year 2015, World AIDS Day will have the theme, “Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths”. And last year our government, in anticipation of this, announced that mothers living with HIV would be provided with free baby formula, reducing the risk of HIV transmission to their infants.

Our Province also continues to work with great community organizations such as Klinic community health care in my constituency of Wolseley, to promote the Manitoba healthy sexuality action plan, with investments in healthy sexuality education as well as HIV testing, treatment and care across Manitoba.

Another incredible organization in Wolseley is Nine Circles, which does remarkable work to prevent and care for those citizens who are affected by HIV/AIDS. Many community groups do commendable work locally to try and turn the tide of AIDS globally. In fact my own mother participates in a group called Grans 'N' More which raises funds for The Stephen Lewis Foundation in support of front-line community initiatives combatting the AIDS pandemic in Africa. This Friday, November 30th, a memorial vigil, including drumming and candle lighting, will take place at Nine Circles from 2 to 4 p.m. At the University of Winnipeg there will be a multimedia event called, “Bridging the Gap”. At dusk on Friday night, the community will come to light up the Legislative Building on behalf of those living with HIV/AIDS and those whose lives have been lost to this challenging disease.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to raise these concerns in support of these people and organizations doing such incredible work.