“World AIDS Day has become one of the most recognized international health days since it was first declared in 1988. The history of HIV and AIDS was initially shrouded in misunderstanding and fear. But after decades of research and medical advances, we now know much more about the virus and how to treat it.

“Today, there is a global commitment to stopping new HIV infections and ensuring that everyone with HIV has access to treatment. As such, the theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is: ‘Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community.’

“HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed more than 32 million lives so far. And while there is no cure for HIV infection, research has resulted in the development of effective drugs that can control the virus and help prevent transmission, so people with HIV can enjoy healthy, long and productive lives.

“As medical research continues, there is also an important role for everyday Albertans to play in our communities. We can all support individuals and families who have been affected by the virus. They deserve our understanding and compassion.”

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