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On Dec. 1, World AIDS Day we call on the Canadian government to steer our country to the forefront of the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The UN revised its estimates of how many people have the AIDS virus, from nearly 40 million to 33 million. However, this good news was due primarily to better assessments in India.

AIDS is on the rise in Canada. Action is needed to remind the government about its commitment to help prevent HIV/AIDS and it’s devastating effects on workers, their families, the economy and communities worldwide.

As part of our campaign in support of public services for all, Oxfam Canada and CUPE are calling on rich countries like Canada to lead the fight against the pandemic by fully funding the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and supporting poor countries to build their health systems, including recruitment, training and retention of more health workers.

Action is also needed at home:

We must remind governments in Canada and around the globe that stopping the spread of HIV takes leadership and must become a worldwide priority.

Last year Canada hosted the XVI International AIDS conference. Canada’s record on combatting the pandemic since then is dismal. We call on CUPE members to take action, now, to push our government to show leadership at home and abroad to stop this disease. All it takes is political will to ensure that some of the basic programs needed to fight HIV/AIDS are delivered at home and worldwide.

We also call on CUPE members and locals to take leadership on HIV/AIDS in the union. Take action by speaking out, participating in education about HIV/AIDS, advocating on behalf of all women, men and children with AIDS or who have been affected by HIV/AIDS.

HIV/AIDS is a union issue. HIV/AIDS is a Canadian government issue. The key to fighting HIV/AIDS is to ensure people’s rights to health care, education, water and sanitation are respected and protected. Canada has an important role to play. Canada must show leadership and improve its aid spending to ensure public access to basic medicines, clean water and health care, at home and abroad.

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