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HIV and AIDS remain a catastrophic problem for millions of people worldwide, including in Canada. The number of Aboriginal people living with HIV and AIDS is growing at an alarming rate of 2.8 times higher than non-Aboriginal. Numbers are also up for Canadian women. And across the world, global inequality is inextricably tied to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

The truth is that HIV and AIDS can be defeated at home and abroad. CUPE remains committed to protecting members living with HIV and AIDS, and those who work with those who live with HIV and AIDS. We are committed to continuing our international support to the Stephen Lewis Foundation and the Canadian Labour Congress AIDS Fund. And this year, CUPE held its first meeting on HIV and AIDS, drawing together activists from across the union, and other civil society groups.

The Strategic Directions Document passed at our recent national convention reaffirmed our commitment to assist in the fight to eliminate HIV and AIDS. We must work to educate members about HIV and AIDS. We must develop local, provincial, national and international partnerships with AIDS organizations. And we must negotiate anti-discrimination language as well as sick leave and heath care benefits to protect members living with HIV and AIDS into our collective agreements.

However, the HIV and AIDS fight needs much more than one day of action. We urge that you support initiatives throughout the year. Proudly wear the red ribbon and take part in the walk in your community today, and then commit to continuing to fight HIV and AIDS at your workplace, in your local and your community.