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World AIDS Day in the Capital
 
ONLINE:  WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 1, 5:50 PM

A reaching of "Hands Across the Bridge," the announcement of new government funding to fight the battle in Africa, and the release of a Health Canada report on the Canadian Strategy on HIV/AIDS marked World AIDS Day in the Capital.

At mid-day hands reached out from both sides of the river as participants met in the middle of the Interprovincial Bridge in a gesture of solidarity and hope organized by the Ottawa-Carleton and Outaouais World AIDS Day Committee.  Walkers then proceeded to the Museum of Civilization and viewed Paper Prayers, the moving commemorative display crafted primarily by people from within the region.

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The day contained government action as well, as International Cooperation Minister Maria Minna announced the federal government's intention to spend $50M over the next five years as a contribution to efforts in Africa.  Ms. Minna told a news conference that "[it's a] human security issue that risks destabilizing the entire region ..."  The Canadian Press reported that an estimated 1,700 Zimbabweans die of AIDS every week.

Health Minister Allan Rock took advantage of the Day himself to release a report from his department entitled Motion and Progress:  Canada's Report on HIV/AIDS 1999, a document which presents a current review of the National AIDS Strategy.  The federal government spends $42M annually on Canadian initiatives and programs.

The Report will be available for downloading on December 10 at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hppb/aidsida/strategy/aids_graphic_eng/index.htm.