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A CUPE delegation is attending the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. Sheryl Burns, a CUPE 1936 member and member of the National Women’s Committee, shares her reflections.


The first day of the conference saw the CUPE delegation engaged and determined to lend a labour perspective to the discussion. The theme of this year’s conference is “Turning the Tide” on AIDS.

The mood is upbeat, with a belief that science and human intervention has finally stopped the spread of AIDS. Although the facts are contradictory and contested, some presentations claim that worldwide, there are fewer new cases, an HIV diagnosis is no longer a death sentence, and there have been great steps towards ending HIV transmission from mother to infant .

The CUPE delegation understands the role public health care and access to sufficient resources, including food, play in this success. One of Monday’s workshops, “Social protection: promoting more sufficient resources,” confirmed this.

At the workshop, Dr. Michael Samson said we need to strengthen political will in the struggle against AIDS. Sampson says policies that provide social protection (income security and access to public services) lift people out of poverty and do not increase their dependence on government. Put simply, public services reduce economic and social inequality, and are vital in fighting HIV and AIDS.

Whenever and wherever possible, the CUPE delegation is questioning P3s and highlighting the social responsibility of governments in fighting HIV/AIDS,

On Tuesday, we will march in support of the Robin Hood Tax on financial transactions.