The Stephen Lewis Foundation hopes to raise public awareness of the HIV and AIDS pandemic in Africa with a tour that stopped in Winnipeg today.

The foundation's Solidarity Tour is stopping in eight cities through May 15, with all the other stops in Ontario.

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, along with members of the foundation and three AIDS front-line workers from Africa, gathered outside the legislature on Friday to kick off the tour.

Netty Musanhu, the executive director of the Musasa Project in Zimbabwe, said while the number of patients with HIV and AIDS has gone down, there is still much work to be done.

"There's been a reduction but … 14 per cent of the population is still infected with HIV," she said.

"That number is unacceptable … and we still need to pay attention to HIV."

An estimated 24 million people in Africa are HIV-positive or have AIDS, but only seven million people are being treated, according to the foundation.

Organizers of the tour say they believe the AIDS issue has fallen off the international agenda.

The tour aims to introduce Canadians to the "inventive and effective approaches that have been pioneered by grassroots African organizations" to address the issue, according to the event's website.

The tour will stop in Toronto, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, London, Niagara Falls, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo and Windsor.