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ARCHIVED - Message from the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health

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World AIDS Day - December 1, 2011

December 1st, 2011

It's hard to imagine that 34 million people around the world are living with HIV or AIDS. Think of it this way: the number of people living with this disease is the same as the population of Canada.

The death toll is just as staggering: about 1.8 million people died from AIDS-related causes in 2010.

In Canada, it is estimated that more than 65,000 people were living with the disease in 2008, and approximately one quarter of those people don't know that they are infected. They could, unknowingly, be putting others at risk.

Because of the scope of this epidemic, the Government of Canada has developed a long-term approach to fighting HIV and AIDS both here in Canada and around the world.

To mark World AIDS Day, we have highlighted the investment of over $17 million in five new, innovative research programs. All five are dedicated to accelerating the development of a safe, effective, affordable and globally accessible HIV vaccine. They are funded through the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative (CHVI).

The CHVI was designed to accelerate the development of a safe and effective HIV vaccine.  Through this Initiative, the Government of Canada will invest $111 million over the next five years and, will work in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which will invest up to $28 million over the same period.

The Government of Canada also leads the Next link will take you to another Web site Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada and, this year, is investing over $72 million in battling the disease domestically. This Initiative provides funding for prevention and support programs, reaching vulnerable populations, research, surveillance, public awareness, and evaluation activities. 

Finally, to help prevent the spread of the HIV virus, as well as provide treatment and care for people living with HIV and AIDS in developing countries, the Government of Canada has provided more than $937 million over the past six years to partner countries and multilateral organizations.

As Minister of Health, I invite you to join me in wearing a red ribbon to show your support for those living with and affected by AIDS. I hope too that on World AIDS Day that you will take a moment to think about all those who have lost their lives to the disease.

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of Health
Government of Canada