Sunday, November 23, 2008

Walk for AIDS

ACON, Bobby Goldsmith Foundation (BGF) and Positive Life NSW are once again hosting the Walk for AIDS on Sunday 23 November 2008. Now in its fourth year, the Walk for AIDS raises much needed funds for services for HIV positive people.When: Sunday 23 November 2008, 11am till 2pmWhere: The Domain and Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

Shayne 's speech at Walk for AIDS

Thank you Ita

Malcolm Turnbull rang me on Friday afternoon and asked if I could represent him here today. He extends his apologies that he has a last minute interstate travel clash as Leader of the Opposition and that he can not be here with us for this important event.

However I am honoured to do so – not only because I have great respect for Malcolm and indeed Lucy, and their unquestioning commitment to our community, especially the cause of HIV AIDS and the work of the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation.

But also on a personal level I am proud to be here because the three organisations that have joined together for the fourth year now to organise today’s fundraiser and awareness event, BGF, ACON and Positive Life NSW are very important to me personally and I am proud to have worked with them over the past decade or so.

In my 15 years as an openly gay man in Sydney I have witnessed first hand the important work the three organisations do in our community and also with other at risk communities such as sex workers and intravenous drug users.

And as we have seen HIV AIDS evolve from a crisis that stole away so many lives too quickly - to where we stand today managing a chronic illness, that still takes lives, that still greatly impacts on lives and a virus that more people live with today than in its history.

Our three peak community organisations and their dedicated staff and many volunteers have evolved as well, where today BGF, ACON and Positive Life NSW are world leading examples of a longer term sustainable community driven response to this health challenge.

Today’s Walk for AIDS as an opening event for AIDS awareness week and World AIDS Day on 1st December, and it reminds us all as members of the community that we all still live with the great challenges of HIV AIDS.

Whilst we may get tired of hearing about it we must maintain our strong community responses through raising awareness and helping those who live with the virus.

We should also spare some time to consider how fortunate we are to be living in a developed western country and reflect upon the lives of those in developing countries, many of whom are our nearby neighbours in South East Asia and the Pacific where the HIV AIDS pandemic is destroying generations of young men, women and children.

Again on behalf of Malcolm Turnbull congratulations to you all for coming along today and thank you to the tireless organisers and volunteers working not only today but 365 days of the year to help improve people’s lives and safeguard the community when it comes to HIV AIDS.

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