There is no room for complacency in the HIV/AIDS debate, Prime Minister Julia Gillard says.
Ms Gillard joined U2 frontman Bono at the Sydney Opera House on the eve of World AIDS Day – 1st December – as the famous venue and the Harbour Bridge were flooded in red light.
The landmarks join a list of monuments to be transformed for the feature day of the global Red campaign to fight AIDS, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Westminster in London.
"With this red lighting we proclaim a day of mourning for our brothers and sisters who have been lost," Ms Gillard told Sydney’s AIDS Day launch on Tuesday night.
"Each of them is loved and each of them is remembered.
"But with this lighting, we also proclaim a renewal of hope because though we cannot cure AIDS at present, we do know how to curb and control it."
More than 25 million people have died from AIDS worldwide, while another 35 million people live with the condition, Ms Gillard said.
Prevention and education were the best tools to combat HIV/AIDS, but there was a danger that the message of prevention was being lost as new generations grow up and complacency sets in, she said.
"There is no room for complacency in the HIV/AIDS debate. The battle is not yet won and we have not yet done enough," the prime minister said.
"So let us take the opportunity of World AIDS Day 2010 to pledge more.
"Yes, more funding. But also more understanding.
"And a more insistent focus on the basics of education and prevention that we know can and do work."
The Product Red campaign has raised more than $150 million in four years for the Global Fund to provide antiretroviral treatments for people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Australians are being urged to wear red on World AIDS day in solidarity with those whose lives have been changed irreversibly by the condition.
"This World AIDS Day it is up to each one of us to harness that energy and join the voice for change," Caritas Australia chief executive Jack de Groot said.
The theme of this year’s world AIDS Day is ‘Universal Access and Rights’.
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