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"HIV/AIDS does not discriminate... we cannot relax."

Sun 15 May 2005 In: HIV

AIDS CANDLELIGHT MEMORIAL SPEECHES From the Governor General, The Honourable Dame Sylvia Cartwright: Tena koutou katoa My warm greetings to everyone gathered for the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial. HIV/AIDS has been with us for many years now and our knowledge of it has improved greatly. Long gone are the early perceptions that HIV/AIDS can affect only some sectors of society. We now know all too well that HIV/AIDS is a threat that does not discriminate by race, sex or sexuality. As we gather here this evening we do so in the knowledge that people around the world are united on this day of remembrance for those affected by HIV and AIDS. As patron of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation I am only too aware that in spite of our increasing knowledge of the virus, the number of people affected by it keeps growing. We therefore understand that we cannot relax, we must continue to educate all New Zealanders, whatever their origins, those with the virus and those without, in order to prevent the spread of infection. Thank you all for being here this evening, for sharing thoughts of compassion, love and goodwill, and for your commitment to ending the threat of HIV/AIDS. Tena koutou katoa From the Prime Minister, Helen Clark: I am proud to have had a long association with the work of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation in educating and informing all New Zealanders about HIV/AIDS, and in helping those who live with the disease every day. HIV/AIDS is still one of the world's most pressing public health issues and is recognised as a significant problem in many of our neighbouring Pacific countries. It is also critical to avoid complacency in New Zealand. The nature of the epidemic constantly evolves, and different communities become affected. New generations of New Zealanders need to be informed and reminded about the painful past lessons we have learned. It is important for us to build on our considerable past achievements, in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS, as well as to learn from international experience as we move to meet the challenges of the future. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the pivotal role played by the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, community-based groups and people living with HIV/AIDS in promoting measures to combat HIV/AIDS From the Leader of the Opposition, Don Brash: For more that 20 years the New Zealand AIDS Foundation has worked hard to halt the HIV epidemic and support people with HIV and AIDS. Both staff and volunteers of the Foundation must be congratulated for their many years of hard work. As the Foundation's website so fluently points out, "The history of the Foundation reflects the generosity, diligence, love and determination of individuals who have cared enough, been concerned enough, and have been motivated enough to act." The New Zealand AIDS Foundation Candlelight Memorial Service is an opportunity for us to remember those who have been so greatly affected by this disease, and those we have lost to HIV and AIDS. Behind them they leave a legacy for us to continue - the opportunity to work towards the prevention and cure of this disease, and raise awareness that this disease is not bound by gender, race or lifestyle. It can affect anyone. This is also the time to give a most warm thank you to the many people who work tirelessly to support, educate and care for people affected by HIV and AIDS, and their families. Without your work, the level of awareness of HIV and AIDS in New Zealand would not be what it is today and this is to be commended. AIDS CANDLELIGHT MEMORIAL SPEECHES - 15th May 2005    


First published: Sunday, 15th May 2005 - 12:00pm

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