Clark: AIDS Candlelight Memorial 2006
21 May 2006
AIDS Candlelight Memorial 2006
Today, in services around the country, we remember those who have died from AIDS since the first death in New Zealand in 1985.
Today we must also acknowledge the significant 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 remains one of the world's most pressing public health issues and is recognised as a significant problem in our own region.
It is critical that we do not become complacent here at home in New Zealand. The number of people in New Zealand diagnosed with HIV hit a record high in 2005. This is a very worrying trend and one we cannot ignore.
New generations of New Zealanders need to be informed about prevention and reminded about the painful past lessons we have learned. It is important for us to build on our considerable past achievements in combatting the spread of HIV/AIDS, as well as learning from international experience as we move to meet these challenges.
I thank the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, the community-based groups, and the people living with HIV/AIDS who play a pivotal role in promoting measures to combat HIV/AIDS.