Dear Editor:

In a recent telephone conference call with Stephen Lewis, members of Grandmother groups across Canada learned that a B.C. man, Dr. Julio Montaner, has published research findings confirming that the treatment of HIV/AIDS with anti-retroviral drugs actually serves also to prevent the spread of the disease. The use of these drugs suppresses the virus and dramatically reduces transmission of the disease.

Dr. Montaner, director of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, met with the United Nations AIDS secretariat in Geneva to present his groundbreaking case for HIV prevention through expanded access to anti-retroviral therapy. This discovery has led to the implementation of a Seek and Treat initiative in British Columbia.

Tragically, however, financial resources to treat the AIDS pandemic on the international level are extremely underfunded and access to antiretroviral drugs is limited.

The Global Fund is considered to be the most effective mechanism to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria but many countries are cutting back on commitments to the Fund. Canadas fair share would mean doubling our pledge.

The Stephen Lewis Foundation continues to provide reliable funding to 200 projects in 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Under the umbrella of the Foundation, 250 groups of Grandmothers across Canada, fundraise to support African Grandmothers who need to feed, clothe, and shelter large families orphaned by the AIDS pandemic.

Ninety per cent of money raised through the Grandmothers campaign reaches projects on the ground!

The local Grandmothers, the Valley Go-Go Sisters of Invermere, welcome new members. You may stop by our table at the upcoming Christmas Craft Sale or phone 342-9600 for further information.

Luana Gilles

Go-Go Sisters of Invermere