09/30/2012 05:26 EDT | Updated 11/30/2012 05:12 EST

Montreal's HIV/AIDS walk sees fewer participants

This year's AIDS walk in Montreal saw fewer supporters, but organizers say they continue to believe in the event.

Hundreds of people took part in the 20th annual Farha Foundation fundraising walk for HIV and AIDS in Montreal on Sunday morning.

Organizers of "Ça Marche" said it was a bittersweet event due to the dwindling amount of supporters who show up each year.

Walk organizer Linda Farha, whose brother Ron organized the first march 20 years ago, said this phenomenon is clearly reflected in the event.

"There's no doubt," said Farha.

"If we even take a look at the numbers, the walk used to attract 15,000 walkers. Now, if we get to 4,000 or 5,000, we'll be happy. Now, people don't even think the disease is an issue."

Ron Farha organized the very first march in 1993, two months before he died from AIDS-related complications.

Marie Leongere, who is HIV positive, said recent findings are bringing new hopes for people living with HIV and AIDS.

Dr. Jean-Pierre Routy, an HIV specialist at McGill University, said AIDS is less frightening than it was 20 years ago, but he added that a person's life will still be changed forever since the virus is long-term and no cure has been found for it.

Routy said approximately 16,000 people in Quebec are infected with HIV and an additional 4,000 may not be aware that they, too, have the virus.