Message by Nelson Mandela on World Aids Day

1 December 2000

HIV/AIDS is a danger to all of our people - young and old, rich and poor, men and women, those in the cities and those in the countryside.

HIVAIDS is the greatest danger we have faced for many, many centuries.

HIV/AIDS is worse than a war. It is like a world war. Millions of people are dying from it. As we speak now, there are thousands of people dying from it this moment.

But this war can be won. This is one war where YOU can make a difference.

Talk to your parents, your teachers, your friends about sex, and about the dangers of HIV/AIDS and about how it can be prevented.

Learn about sex before you practise it. Learn about safe sex. It is better to wait and grow up before you have sex. When you do have sex, think of yourself and others you love. Use a condom.

You ARE the future. Protect your life and the ones you love by ensuring that HIV/AIDS is not a part of it.

I love each and every one of you. I wish I could put every single one of you in my pocket to show you how much I love you.

Each one of you: protect yourself and those you love.

I love you and I thank you for caring about your future and about the future of all of us.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation