Yesterday marked the 23rd International Aids Candlelight Memorial with Bluff Hill achieving the honour of being the most southern point in the world to commemorate the event.
Southland sexual health nurse Shona Fordyce told members of the Southland HIV-Aids Support Group the message of the night was simple.
"Always be careful, always be aware and never be complacent."
Mrs Fordyce said last year New Zealand experienced the largest ever number of new HIV diagnoses.
It was alarming that some people who wrongly believed if they got infected the disease was treatable, she said.
"Some people think they can just take a couple of pills."
The fact was most people who have HIV will die from an Aids-related illness, she said.
Occurring the third Sunday of May each year, the vigil sees people worldwide gather to light candles in commemoration of those affected by the HIV/Aids pandemic.
Each year, memorials take place in more than 4500 communities in more than 93 countries.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Aids has claimed more than 28 million lives, with more than 42 million now living with the virus.
The numbers are increasing.
Each year, the international organisers choose a theme.
This year that theme is Lighting The Path To A Brighter Future.
In New Zealand, the Aids Foundation has taken that theme of remembrance and added themes of awareness and prevention.